European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 270, Issue 1, pp 371–374 | Cite as

Tuberculous retropharyngeal abscess presenting with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

Case Report


Chronic retropharyngeal abscess (RPA) caused by tuberculosis is an uncommon manifestation of extrapulmonary tuberculosis within the head and neck. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults is a common condition with many etiologies that have been well described. Here, we present a case of retropharyngeal abscess caused by chronic tuberculosis with an unusual and interesting presenting symptom in an adult that has not been mentioned in literature, new-onset and worsening stertor or snoring, with signs and symptoms of OSA. The purpose of this manuscript is to present our experience with this case, as well as to emphasize the diagnosis, clinical course, and management of tuberculous retropharyngeal abscess in adults, while also signifying the need to include retropharyngeal abscess in the differential diagnosis for symptoms presenting as new-onset stertor and airway obstruction.


Retropharyngeal abscess Tuberculosis Obstructive sleep apnea Snoring Chronic disease Adult 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryMayo Clinic HospitalPhoenixUSA

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