Recognition, Management, and Prevention of Clostridium septicum Abscess in Immunosuppressed Patients

Magnus E. Kolbeinsson, MD; Walter D. Holder Jr, MD; Salim Aziz, MD
Arch Surg. 1991;126(5):642-645. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410290120024.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

• Spontaneous gas gangrene due to Clostridium septicum is a rapidly progressing disease that usually ends in fatal toxemia. We report three cases of asymptomatic C septicum abscesses to document the clinical course of this entity and to establish guidelines for its prevention and treatment. In contrast to previously reported data, C septicum infections can produce abscesses in solid organs, the retroperitoneum, and the extremities. These lesions often occur in patients with cancer, producing liver abscesses without gas formation that may be misinterpreted as metastatic carcinoma. Symptoms may be minimal or nonspecific before fulminant toxemia. Asymptomatic bacteremia should prompt a search for unsuspected cancer and an abscess. Computed tomography is the diagnostic modality of choice. The treatment consists of surgical débridement of necrotic tissue in concert with an appropriate course of antibiotics. We have found recurrences after adequate débridement and short-term antibiotic therapy, suggesting that prolonged and even lifelong prophylactic oral penicillin G potassium may be necessary to prevent further recurrences.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:642-645)


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

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





Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.