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Chariclia V. Loupa, Marina Gkeka, George Mitrakis
(2nd Department of Internal Medicine, “A. Fleming” General Hospital, Athens, Greece)
Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e922974
Emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN) is a life-threatening infection of the renal parenchyma. The purpose of this report is to present a case of EPN with distinctive imaging.
CASE REPORT: An 87-year-old man with a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus presented to the ER with fever and shivering, hypotension, and anuria, which is a clinical presentation of septic shock. He had recently been hospitalized at another hospital due to myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke, where a temporary urinary catheter was placed. Upon physical examination, he had right lateral abdominal pain with extension to the right renal region. Laboratory studies showed leucocytosis (WBC: 24 320/μl with 94.4% polymorphonuclear), elevated C-reactive protein 340 mg/l (NV <3.45), and acute renal failure (urea 155mg/dl NV <50 mg/dl, creatinine 4.4 mg/dl NV <1.2 mg/dl). A plain X-ray showed air was present peripheral to the right kidney, while the abdominal CT revealed air inside the right kidney and bilateral nephrolithiasis. The patient was initially put on aggressive hydration, vasoconstrictors, and hydrocortisone to treat the septic shock, and an advanced antibiotic treatment (meropenem) was initiated immediately. Blood culture grew Escherichia coli. After 3 days of treatment, he showed significant improvement in diuresis and renal function (urea 90 mg/dl, creatinine 1.0 mg/dl), with a concomitant decrease in inflammatory markers (CRP 36.7 mg/l). The antibiotic treatment was tapered to cefuroxime and metronidazole. The patient’s condition improved, and he was discharged with per os antibiotic treatment. Subsequently, surgical assessment for the nephrolithiasis was suggested.
CONCLUSIONS: Emphysematous pyelonephritis, although rare, should be included in the differential diagnosis of fever in a diabetic patient with renal pain.