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Bilateral Pneumothoraces: A Rare Complication of Septic Pulmonary Emboli in Intravenous Drug Abusers

Yehuda Galili, Meghan Lytle, Steve Carlan, Mario Madruga

(Department of Internal Medicine, Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando, FL, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2018; 19:829-832

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.910371


BACKGROUND: Right-sided infective endocarditis is a classic complication of intravenous drug abuse. Without timely bactericidal antibiotics, the disease process can progress to septic pulmonary emboli. Rarely, a pneumothorax can occur as a result of the emboli, and progressive persistent valvular disease may require a valve replacement. Tricuspid valve replacement has a high morbidity rate even in stable patients.
CASE REPORT: We present a case of tricuspid valve replacement in a 39-year-old man with peripheral intravenous drug abuse who had bilateral pneumothoraces secondary to septic pulmonary emboli originating on large tricuspid valve infected vegetations. The patient died 21 days after the valve replacement.
CONCLUSIONS: Tricuspid valve replacement is an especially dangerous procedure in intravenous drug abusers who present with bilateral pneumothoraces and advanced cardiopulmonary pathology.

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