Acute lingual abscess is a rare yet life-threatening clinical entity. Lingual abscess must be appropriately diagnosed and treated in the emergency department to avoid acute airway compromise. A 68-yearold woman on immunomodulatory medication for rheumatoid arthritis presented to the emergency department with left facial pain and swelling. An anterior lingual abscess was diagnosed on computed tomographic scan. The most common cause of lingual abscess is direct trauma, although immunocompromised state is a predisposing risk factor. Intravenous antibiotics are the primary treatment modality, with consideration given to adjunctive surgical drainage. We present this case to increase awareness surrounding this diagnosis among emergency physicians. Spontaneous lingual abscess should be considered in immunocompromised patients who present to the emergency department with tongue pain and edema even in the absence of lingual trauma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine