Colour Doppler ultrasonography of retropharyngeal abscess

Hsun Chin Chao*, Cherng-Hsun Chiu, Syh-Jae Lin, Tzou Yien Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: This study was conducted to determine the capability of colour Doppler ultrasonography (CDU) in evaluating retropharyngeal abscess in children. Materials and Methods: From July 1996 to February 1998, five children with clinical suspicion of retropharyngeal abscess were evaluated by CDU. The distance from internal carotid artery (ICA) to cervical vertebra (CV) (D(ICA-CV)) at the upper cervical level was measured by longitudinal ultrasonography. Fifty healthy children, aged from 1 to 15 years, were recruited in the study to measure D(ICA-CV) as control. Colour Doppler ultrasonography was used to differentiate abscess from other pathology and to detect carotid sheath invasion. Computed tomography was performed to confirm the sonographic diagnosis. Measurements of the D(ICA-CV) at regular intervals were performed to monitor the progression of retropharyngeal abscess. Results: Retropharyngeal abscess was highly suspected in all cases under sonographic studies. A patient was found to have carotid sheath invasion. Computed tomography confirmed the diagnosis of retropharyngeal abscess in all cases. Retropharyngeal abscess can be evaluated by the measured D(ICA-CV). The D(ICA-CV) decreased as the retropharyngeal abscess gradually resolved. Conclusion: Colour Doppler ultrasonography offers a sensitive method to evaluate retropharyngeal abscess in children. It can also be used to monitor the progression of retropharyngeal abscess and avoid unnecessary radiologic examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-141
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Otolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 06 1999


  • Children
  • Colour Doppler ultrasonography
  • Retropharyngeal abscess


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