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Fulminant methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus infection: from pinprick to multiorgan failure


A woman in her 60s with diabetes presented to our institution with altered mental status. Preceding symptoms included headaches, nausea and vomiting. One month prior to presentation, she cut her left thumb and developed a pustule, which she occasionally manipulated with a non-sterile needle. On arrival, the patient was in shock, with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3, requiring emergent intubation and intensive care unit admission. Her initial imaging studies revealed a large pericardial effusion and cerebral subcortical hypodensities. She suffered from a cardiopulmonary arrest with return of spontaneous circulation, with bedside echocardiogram revealing cardiac tamponade. She underwent emergent pericardiocentesis which revealed purulent drainage. Blood, pericardial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, sputum and urine cultures returned positive for methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. The hospital course was further complicated by refractory septic shock and fulminant multiorgan failure, ultimately leading to her demise.

  • infectious diseases
  • adult intensive care
  • pericardial disease
  • infections
  • meningitis

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