Background: Descending necrotizing mediastinitis [DNM] is a serious complication of odontogenic infections, being associated with a high mortality rate. The diagnosis, classification, and management depend on computed tomography [CT] findings. Incision, drainage, and debridement represent the principal management. This study aimed to assess the prognosis in odontogenic DNM.

Methods: The DNM type I was managed by transcervical mediastinal drainage, while in DNM type II, a right or left posterolateral thoracotomy was used. Data were compared among survivors and deceased to detect the risk factors affecting the prognosis.

Results: This study included 63 patients. Transcervical mediastinal drainage was performed in 57 patients with Endo Type I while drainage through a right posterolateral thoracotomy was performed in the other five patients with Endo Type I and one patient with Endo Type IIA. Of patients in the study, 82.5% survived while 17.5% died because of multiple organ failure. Multiple complications and severe sepsis or septic shock as risk factors were statistically significant.

Conclusion: A CT scan is the modality of choice for diagnosis and classification of DNM. Incision and drainage of the maxillofacial infection with mediastinal drainage and debridement represent the main management. Multiple complications and severe sepsis or septic shock were associated with poor prognosis.