The assessment and management of deep neck space infections in adults: A systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Otolaryngol. 2023 May 6. doi: 10.1111/coa.14064. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: To summarise current practices in the diagnosis and management of deep neck space infections (DNSIs). To inform future studies in developing a framework in the management of DNSIs.

DESIGN: This review was registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021226449) and reported in line with PRISMA guidelines. All studies from 2000 that reported the investigation or management of DNSI were included. The search was limited to English language only. Databases searched included AMED, Embase, Medline and HMIC. Quantitative analysis was undertaken with descriptive statistics and frequency synthesis with two independent reviewers. A qualitative narrative synthesis was conducted using a thematic analysis approach.

SETTING: Secondary or tertiary care centres that undertook management of DNSIs.

PARTICIPANTS: All adult patients with a DNSI.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The role of imaging, radiologically guided aspiration and surgical drainage in DNSIs.

RESULTS: Sixty studies were reviewed. Thirty-one studies reported on imaging modality, 51 studies reported treatment modality. Aside from a single randomised controlled trial, all other studies were observational (n = 25) or case series (n = 36). Computer tomography (CT) was used to diagnose DNSI in 78% of patients. The mean percentage of management with open surgical drainage was 81% and 29.4% for radiologically guided aspiration, respectively. Qualitative analysis identified seven major themes on DNSI.

CONCLUSIONS: There are limited methodologically rigorous studies investigating DNSIs. CT imaging was the most used imaging modality. Surgical drainage was commonest treatment choice. Areas of further research on epidemiology, reporting guidelines and management are required.

PMID:37147934 | DOI:10.1111/coa.14064

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