Fulminant septic shock due to Clostridium perfringens skin and soft tissue infection eight years after liver transplantation
Benjamin Juntermanns, Sonia Radunz, Matthias Heuer, Spiridon Vernadakis, Henning Reis, Anja Gallinat, Jürgen Treckmann, Gernot M. Kaiser, Andreas Paul, Fuat H. Saner
Ann Transplant 2011; 16(3): 143-146
Background: Bacterial and fungal infections are the main cause of death within the first year after liver transplantation. Clostridium perfringens is the most common germ causing gas gangrene. Infections with Clostridium perfringens may present in a variety of clinical manifestations, reaching from asymptomatic infections to massive intravascular haemolysis and multiple organ failure due to septic shock.
Case Report: We here report on a 55-year old male liver transplant patient suffering from skin and soft tissue infection eight years after liver transplantation. The patient was referred to our department from a community hospital. Upon admission in our department the infection had been ongoing for at least three days. Laboratory analyses demonstrated severe infection and impaired liver function. Tomogram and computed tomography scan of his right limb showed typical images of gas gangrene. The patient was immediately scheduled for surgical debridement. During surgery the patient developed septic shock with severe coagulopathy and died six hours after the operation due to uncontrolled septic shock. The histopathological and microbiologic work-up of the resected skin and soft tissue showed necrotic areas infiltrated with Clostridium perfringens.
Conclusions: Even long-term survivors of liver transplantation are at major risk for life-threatening infections. The reported clinical scenario of Clostridium perfringens infection indicates the narrow therapeutic window. Clostridium perfringens should always be considered as a cause of infection in liver transplant patients.
Keywords: Clostridium perfringens, Gas Gangrene, Liver Transplantation, Multiple Organ Failure, soft and skin tissue infection