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Simultaneous Diagnosis of Emphysematous Osteomyelitis and Emphysematous Pyelonephritis in a Diabetic Patient

Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care, Rare disease

Fotios-Panagiotis Tatakis, Ioannis Kyriazis, Ioulia-Eleni Panagiotopoulou, Emmanuel Kalafatis, Georgios Mantzikopoulos, Konstantinos Polyzos, Ioannis Kachrimanidis, Anastasios M. Vogiatzakis, Sofia Rellou, Eleni Manta, Maria Tzaki, Vassiliki Papaioannou, Moyssis Lelekis

(Department of Internal Medicine, KAT General Hospital of Attica, Kifissia, Greece)

Am J Case Rep 2019; 20:1793-1796

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.920006

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-02


BACKGROUND: Emphysematous osteomyelitis of the spine is characterized by intravertebral or intraosseous air. Emphysematous pyelonephritis (EP) is the infection of the renal parenchyma and perirenal tissues caused by gas forming microorganisms and thus is characterized by gas formation. Prompt diagnosis and initiation of necessary treatment is crucial, as both entities are associated with high mortality rates.
CASE REPORT: A 57-year-old female with uncontrolled hyperglycemia presented to the emergency department with history of sudden onset of weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for 3 days and with a fall on the same level the previous day. Laboratory examinations revealed leukocytosis, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, deteriorated renal function, and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar non-ketotic state. She was placed on aggressive intravenous hydration and insulin infusion pump. Due to the deterioration of her medical condition, she underwent abdominal and pelvic CT scanning that revealed emphysematous osteomyelitis of the spine and emphysematous pyelonephritis. Despite vigorous fluid resuscitation and systemic broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, the patient’s condition deteriorated further and eventually led to death within 48 h.
CONCLUSIONS: This case of fatal emphysematous osteomyelitis of the spine and EP serves as a significant reminder of those rare life-threatening entities, which affect patients with comorbidities, such as diabetes mellitus and other etiologies causing immunosuppression. The aim of the present case report is to highlight the importance and contribution of computed tomography in diagnosing these conditions and to emphasize the rare coexistence of these 2 emphysematous entities.

Keywords: Diabetes Complications, osteomyelitis, Pyelonephritis



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