Acute retropharyngeal abscess in a patient with anorexia nervosa

  • Alexia KleisouraEmail author
  • Ioannis Michopoulos
  • Anna Karavia
  • Rossetos Gournellis
  • Dimitrios Lefantzis
  • Athanasios Douzenis
Case Report


Retropharyngeal abscess (RA) is an unusual and severe condition especially among adult patients. It is characterized by a collection of pus in the tissues behind the pharynx, accompanied by difficulty in swallowing, sore throat, fever and pain. The high mortality rate of retropharyngeal abscess is due to its association with among others, mediastinitis. Unlike children, adults’ abscesses due to nasal or pharyngeal infection are rare. Usually, adults with RA have a history of intraoral procedures, trauma, dental infections or penetrating foreign bodies (fish bones, chicken bones, pen refill) [1]. RA is a very rare condition in adults with eating disorders. We present a case of a woman suffering from anorexia nervosa (AN), who developed an acute RA while she was hospitalized. The novelty of our case is the unusual mechanism that caused the RA: self-injury with a plastic spoon used to induce vomit.

Case report

The patient is a 42-year-old, divorced and unemployed woman. She...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethical committee approved this publication

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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    Brown CA, Mehler PS (2013) Medical complications of self-induced vomiting. Eat Disord 21:287–294. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2013.797317 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Delap TG, Grant WE, Dick R, Quiney RE (1996) Retropharyngeal abscess—an unusual complication of anorexia nervosa. J Laryngol Otol 110:483–484. doi: 10.1017/5002221510013405X CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Second Department of Psychiatry, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University General Hospital “Attikon”AthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyKorgialenio Benakio HospitalAthensGreece

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