Is diabetes mellitus an increased risk factor for epidural abscess?

The Bottom Line: Spinal epidural abscess is uncommon entity but is important clinically. Frequency is reported to be between 0.2 and 2 cases per 10,000 admissions. Most cases occur in patients aged 30–60 years and the most common risk factor is diabetes mellitus, and alcoholism has an important role.

Oblak, Maja Psoas and spinal epidural abscess in a diabetic patient–case report. Diabetes research and clinical practice 2005 vol:68 iss:3 pg:274 -277

In most cases the infection source is haematogenous dissemination of bacteria from a focus somewhere else in the body, especially the skin. The most reliable clinical indicator is coexistence of axial back pain and progressive neurologic symptoms. MRI offers advantages over CT myelography in diagnosis . Mortality remains around 15 % despite modern diagnostic methods.

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