BMJ Case Reports 2018; doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-223591
  • Unusual association of diseases/symptoms

Sphingomonas paucimobilis empyema caused by remote foreign body aspiration

  1. Thomas Treadwell
  1. Department of Medicine, Metrowest Medical Center, Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jin Yuan, jin.yuan{at}
  • Accepted 14 March 2018
  • Published 11 April 2018


Empyema secondary to foreign body aspiration is rare in adults. We present a case of empyema in a 77-year-old male patient related to a remote aspiration event during a dental procedure. A CT of the chest and bronchoscopy confirmed that a metallic foreign body was located within the right lower lobe bronchus. His pleural fluid culture revealed Sphingomonas paucimobilis which is a low-virulent opportunistic gram-negative bacilli and rarely causes infection. The patient received meropenem followed by levofloxacin and recovered uneventfully. The attempt of foreign body removal was failed due to chronic inflammation, and the patient refused further surgical management.


  • JY and TT contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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