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Importance of vaccination for disease prevention in post-splenectomy patients
  1. Claire Foran1,
  2. Susan Lapthorne2,
  3. Eamonn Faller2 and
  4. Corinna Sadlier2
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Infectious Diseases, Cork University Hospital Group, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Corinna Sadlier; corinna.sadlier{at}


A fit middle aged man presented to the emergency department with headache, myalgia, vomiting, fever and rigours. He was hypotensive with mottled peripheries, tachycardic and dyspnoeic. The only significant medical history noted was an emergency splenectomy 30 years previously following a road traffic accident. The patient had been on prophylactic antibiotics initially and was vaccinated in line with recommendations at the time following splenectomy with no significant health issues in the intervening years. The patient was treated empirically for septic shock and meningitis based on presentation and admitted to the intensive care unit for pressor support and subsequently required intubation and ventilation. Investigations revealed bilateral pneumonia. Streptococcal pneumoniae urinary antigen and serum S. pneumoniae PCR were positive supporting a diagnosis of invasive pneumococcal infection. A lumbar puncture was negative for meningitis. Distal mottling affecting all limbs progressed with resultant bilateral upper limb digit and below knee amputation. The patient subsequently required extensive rehabilitation. Following a prolonged tertiary and rehabilitation hospital admission, the patient made an exceptional recovery and was discharged home with ongoing appropriate support and home adaptation.

  • infectious diseases
  • vaccination/immunisation
  • adult intensive care
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • surgery

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  • Contributors CF performed body of research and compiled history and text for the case report. SL edited the text and aided in structuring and giving details of the case as heavily involved in patient’s care. EF was heavily involved in patient’s care and aided in development. CS was the lead consultant of the patient, edited the overall case report and oversaw research, and submitted the case for consideration.

  • 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.

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