Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: We have heard about how a lack of proper dental care can lead to multiple organ failure. Yet, many of us still consider toothache is a common problem and is treatable with painkillers.
That's what happened to a 26-year-old woman, who landed in the ICU after she suffered from multiple organ failure and three cardiac attacks.
As per a report from Times of India, Mala, a Business School employee and a gym trainer, ignored multiple cavities in her mouth and didn't bother to take care of them until she lost her speech and was unable to eat or drink.
Investigations at the Fortis Hospital in Bangalore revealed that the infection had spread to their vital organs, resulting in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
The report says that the ache further led to dental cellulitis and eventually blocked the passage of her throat.
"Mala was running high fever, had low BP, and was looking toxic, when she was brought to the emergency unit of Fortis," Sudha Menon, consultant, internal medicine, Fortis, who treated Mala was quoted by the TOI as saying.
Dr Sudha said they first suspected dengue or H1N1 as her condition was symptomatic but the results came negative. In fact, doctors said she developed pneumonia and her condition would improve a bit and worsen again.
“There was a shower of bacteria on her lungs and fluids in the lungs started accumulating 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," Dr Menon added.
Mala underwent tracheostomy, a surgical procedure where an incision is made in the windpipe to relieve an obstruction to breathing.
Later, doctors found Mala to be be suffering from Lemierre's syndrome, a rare condition caused by bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum in the mouth, further leading to sepsis.
The bacteria infection then spread to the neighbouring jugular vein, causing a clot. Pieces of this clot travelled to the lungs, pulmonary artery, leading to respiratory complications. This has left Mala to shed 20 kilos.
The report further states that Mala, who was discharged in December last, is back at work now. Recently, she once again suffered from jaw swelling and is being treated by Dr Srivats Bharadwaj, dentist and founder, Vatsalya, Centre for Oral Care.
Although, Mala's case is unique, it serves as an eye-opener to all of us and can happen to anyone, who ingores it. It also signifies that dental health matters and that ignoring of it can cost us dearly, including our lives.