Retropharyngeal Abscess Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Jan 08, 2021
  • Author: Joseph H Kahn, MD; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
  • Print
DDx

Diagnostic Considerations

Differentials include the following:

  • Airway obstruction

  • Calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis [45]

  • Apnea [46]

  • Sepsis

  • Pneumonia

  • Mediastinitis

  • Epidural abscess

  • Epiglottitis [4]

  • Croup [4]

  • Bacterial tracheitis [4]

  • Peritonsillar abscess [4]

  • Uvulitis [4]

  • Foreign body ingestion [47]

  • Angioedema [47]

  • Lymphoma [47]

  • Diphtheria [4]

In a study in Germany, 20 of 234 patients with deep space infections of the neck had airway compromise requiring tracheostomy. [27] In a study in Salt Lake City, 7 of 130 pediatric patients with RPA presented with airway obstruction requiring Pediatric Intensive Care Unit admission and/or intubation. [48]

A case report of a 4-year-old boy with compression of his internal carotid artery and internal jugular vein by a retropharyngeal abscess was documented. [49]

Differential Diagnoses