Toothache leads to multi-organ dysfunction
Sunitha Rao R| TNN | Jul 19, 2016, 11.17 AM IST..thanks.Times of India
Dedicated by: Kavignar Thanigai.
26-Year-old woman lands in ICU, unable to drink, eat or speak
Never had Mala M, 26, imagined that lack of oral hygiene could prove so disastrous. What started as a simple toothache landed the employee of a premier Bschool and gym trainer in an ICU, with multi-organ dysfunction. Mala survived three mild cardiac attacks and was on ventilator for two months before recovery.
When a toothache and swelling in her right jaw bothered Mala, she, like any other youngster, thought painkillers would be the cure. However, those didn’t help. In fact, the ache led to dental cellulitis and the swelling made its way to her throat, blocking the passage.
Soon, Mala was unable to drink, eat or even speak; she grew weaker by the day. When she could no longer take the pain, Mala’s mother got her admitted to a local hospital.Unfortunately, the hospital wasn’t equipped to treat such a critical case and she had to be shifted to Fortis Hospital.
An examination revealed the infection had spread to her vital organs and she was diagnosed with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
“Mala was running high fever, had low BP, and was looking toxic, when she was brought to the emergency unit of Fortis,” said Dr Sudha Menon, consultant, internal medicine, Fortis, who treated her.
“We first suspected dengue or H1N1 as her condition was symptomatic but the results came negative. She suffered from pneumonia and was kept on ventilator. It was nothing but a roller-coaster ride. The credit must go to the staff and doctors in the ICU who handled her with care, taking on every challenge and risk she posed. She would improve a bit and worsen again. There was a shower of bacteria on her lungs and fluids in the lungs started accu mulating around her heart.Besides, there was a clot in a vein that connects the heart, head and the neck region.Oral hygiene was compromised, leading to the spreading of anaerobic bacteria,” said Dr Menon.
Mala went through trache ostomy, a surgical procedure where an incision is made in the windpipe to relieve an obstruction to breathing. The infection needed to be sucked out through the tracheostomy tube.
Mala was eventually found to be suffering from Lemierre’s syndrome, a rare condition caused by bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum, a common inhabitant of the mouth, further leading to sepsis. The bacteria penetrated the neighbouring jugular vein, causing an infected clot.Pieces of this clot broke off and travelled to the lungs, blocking branches of the pulmonary artery. This caused shortness of breath, chest pain and severe pneumonia.Spreading of the sepsis affected multiple organs and, in no time, Mala shed 20 kilos.
it is not strange. tooth ache and gum problems lead to so many problems. we have a case in our relation where extraction of a tooth by a dental surgeon (they dont want to be called dentists anymore!has resulted in complete of sight in one eye!!!!!!
“I had a lot of cavities and didn’t bother to take care of them. It hit me only when I lost speech, couldn’t lie down and wasn’t even able to swallow water. It’s a rebirth for me,” said Mala, who was discharged in December last and is back at work now.
However, she once again suffered from jaw swelling and is being treated by Dr Srivats Bharadwaj, dentist and founder, Vatsalya, Centre for Oral Care.