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Demographic, clinical, and paraclinical features of patients operated with the diagnosis of acute descending necrotizing mediastinitis: a retrospective study in Southern Iran.

INTRODUCTION: Descending necrotizing mediastinitis (DNM) is a type of acute mediastinitis that is rarely reported but is regarded as a fatal disease despite improvements in technological methods and antibiotic therapies. We aimed to determine the demographic, clinical, and paraclinical features of patients diagnosed with acute DNM.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, patients' hospital records with a diagnosis of DNM admitted to the Namazi hospital in southern Iran during 18 years (2002-2019) were reviewed. Demographic and clinical features were recorded and subsequently analyzed via SPSS 22.

RESULTS: Out of 67 mediastinitis patients, 25 (37.3%) were diagnosed as DNM with an average age of 37.2 ± 16.7 years, and 68% were male. Regarding etiology, 52.0% were due to neck infection. Based on the technique of surgery, 52% of the patients underwent the combined method, which was mostly among type I and IIA DNM, while thoracotomy was mostly performed on type IIB DNM (P = 0.08). Based on the incision, type IIA and IIB had the highest frequency of thoracotomy and cervicothoracic incisions (P = 0.02 and 0.002). Puss discharge was significantly lower in type I DNM (P = 0.01). Based on the presenting symptoms of our patients, the majority (72.0%) had a chief complaint of neck pain, followed by chills and fever (48%). There were no reports of mortality during our short-term follow-up.

CONCLUSION: We report one of the largest retrospective studies of DNM patients in our referral center, with a high prevalence of the disease among younger populations, especially under 40 years. The method of treatment should be chosen based on the extent of infection and can be limited to neck exploration in upper mediastinal infections, though thoracic or combined approach in more broad infections.

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