Patients with intra-abdominal processes that require prompt surgical intervention, including appendicitis, perforated viscus, ischemic bowel, volvulus, and bowel obstruction, often present with signs and symptoms of an acute abdomen. Several medical problems can mimic an acute abdomen. Overwhelming postsplenectomy infection is a life-threatening condition that can present with acute abdominal symptoms. The incidence of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection ranges from 1% to 25%, and is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in 50% of cases. Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria commonly found in dog saliva, accounts for less than 1% of cases. Overwhelming postsplenectomy infection has a rapidly deteriorating course that progresses to respiratory and renal failure, cardiovascular collapse, and death. The mortality associated with overwhelming postsplenectomy infection is 60% to 80%. Early diagnosis and institution of appropriate antibiotic therapy and supportive care is essential to improve patient outcome. A previously healthy woman who had undergone splenectomy secondary to trauma 11 years earlier presented with symptoms of an acute abdomen. A diagnosis of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection due to C canimorsus was made based on her peripheral blood smear and blood culture findings. Early aggressive care and antibiotic treatment resulted in a successful outcome for this patient with no long-term morbidity. This patient's clinical course demonstrates the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection.
Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more
Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features
Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)
Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours
Photomicrographic view of peripherally obtained blood. Many extracellular and intracellular gram-negative rods are evident. Almost all neutrophils contain multiple intracellular rods (Gram, original magnification ×200).
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Surgery editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
and access these and other features:
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.