Kauvery Main Hospital Raises Awareness on Ludwig's Angina: A life threatening infection linked to Oral Health

  • Ludwig's Angina is a bacterial infection that occurs in the floor of the mouth, beneath the tongue or in the tooth that can lead to a dreaded swelling capable of claiming a patient's life within a day.
  • A simple toothache can escalate into a rapidly spreading infection-cellulitis-due to the virulent enzymes produced by the bacteria infecting the teeth and jaw spaces. These enzymatic chemicals spread from one organ to another, resulting in severe inflammation and its dire complications.

Chennai, 13th July, 2023: Kauvery Hospital Alwarpet, a leading multi-speciality healthcare chain in Tamil Nadu, alerts the public about an alarming condition known as Ludwig's Angina, an aggressive infection originating from the mouth and teeth that can quickly escalate into a swelling in the face and neck that can potentially turn fatal.

When the infection spreads to the tissue spaces surrounding the muscles and bones in the face and neck, referred to as fascial spaces, the inflammatory swelling can rapidly propagate like wildfire. This mainly affects individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as severe diabetes or those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.

Similarly, an infected wisdom tooth can cause swelling in the mouth, neck, and base of the tongue and may even extend to the vocal cords. This leads to reduced mouth opening, elevated tongue position towards the palate, and significant neck swelling. Involvement of the vocal cord region triggers immediate inflammation and infection, endangering breathing and potentially resulting in death.

Ludwig's Angina requires immediate surgical intervention to drain the pus and infected fluids from the mouth and neck. Time is of the essence in treating this surgical emergency, as delay may prove fatal. Patients may require emergency surgery followed by intensive care in the ICU, including ventilation support and administration of potent antibiotics to control the infection.

Kauvery Hospital Chennai has recently encountered three cases, all presenting with severe breathing difficulties and swallowing issues. The patients, who were in their 60s, were swiftly taken to the operating theatre, where specialized fibreoptic intubation techniques were used to secure their airways. Two patients required postoperative care in the ICU after pus drainage and were subsequently monitored in the ward until the complete resolution of the infection.

Dr. Manikandan, a Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital, emphasized the need for urgent medical attention for Ludwig's Angina, comparing it to a heart attack. "Ludwig's Angina is a surgical emergency that demands immediate care within hours, comparable to the urgency of treating a heart attack."

The condition demands a collaborative effort from a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, including ENT specialists, anesthesiologists, and intensivists, to successfully save patients from this life-threatening infection, which carries a high mortality rate if left untreated.

Dr. Aravindan Selvaraj, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital remarked, "At Kauvery Hospital, we are dedicated to raising awareness about the serious implications of Ludwig's Angina. Individuals must understand the potential risks of untreated dental infections and seek prompt medical attention. It is also recommended to have regular dental checkups to prevent such infections."


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