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Infectious Mediastinitis: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to characterize the demographics, microbiology, management and treatment outcomes of mediastinitis according to the origin of the infection.

METHODS: This retrospective observational study enrolled patients who had mediastinitis diagnosed according to the criteria defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and were treated in Strasbourg University Hospital, France, between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2020.

RESULTS: We investigated 151 cases, including 63 cases of poststernotomy mediastinitis (PSM), 60 cases of mediastinitis due to esophageal perforation (MEP) and 17 cases of descending necrotizing mediastinitis (DNM). The mean patient age (standard deviation) was 63 (14.5) years, and 109 of 151 patients were male. Microbiological documentation varied according to the origin of the infection. When documented, PSM cases were mostly monomicrobial (36 of 53 cases [67.9%]) and involved staphylococci (36 of 53 [67.9%]), whereas MEP and DNM cases were mostly plurimicrobial (38 of 48 [79.2%] and 8 of 12 [66.7%], respectively) and involved digestive or oral flora microorganisms, respectively. The median duration of anti-infective treatment was 41 days (interquartile range, 21-56 days), and 122 of 151 patients (80.8%) benefited from early surgical management. The overall 1-year survival rate was estimated to be 64.8% (95% confidence interval, 56.6%-74.3%), but varied from 80.1% for DNM to 61.5% for MEP.

CONCLUSIONS: Mediastinitis represents a rare yet deadly infection. The present cohort study exhibited the different patterns observed according to the origin of the infection. Greater insight and knowledge on these differences may help guide the management of these complex infections, especially with respect to empirical anti-infective treatments.

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