Nocardia spinal epidural abscess: 14-year follow-up.
ABSTRACT This article describes an immunocompetent patient with a spinal abscess that developed from Nocardia asteroides. Nocardia is a rare etiology for spinal abscesses, especially in immunocompetent patients. Nocardia usually affects the lungs and brain of immunocompromised individuals. Few reports of Nocardia involving bones or the spine have been published.The patient had a history of chronic back pain and had several procedures to alleviate the pain. In August 1997, the patient had an epidural block and a subsequent infection that was treated with antibiotics. In October 1997, she developed increasing back pain greater than her baseline chronic low back pain. Additional presenting symptoms were fever, chills, and nausea. On admission, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed an epidural abscess. The patient underwent irrigation and debridement. Postoperatively, the patient was initially placed on broad-spectrum antibiotics. After 38 days, the culture was identified as N asteroides, and the patient was placed on appropriate antibiotics. The patient has been followed with MRI prior to the discovery of the abscess and annually since the abscess due to her baseline chronic low back pain. No residual abscess was discovered.