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Open Access Case report

Should prophylactic thrombolysis be routine in clinical practice? Evidence from an autopsy case of septicemia

Kunihiro Inai13*, Sakon Noriki23 and Hiromichi Iwasaki4

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathological Sciences, University of Fukui, 23-3 Matsuoka-Shimoaizuki, Eiheiji, Fukui 910-1193, Japan

2 Division of Tumor Pathology, Department of Pathological Sciences, University of Fukui, 23-3 Matsuoka-Shimoaizuki, Eiheiji, Fukui 910-1193, Japan

3 Autopsy Imaging Center, School of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, 23-3 Matsuoka-Shimoaizuki, Eiheiji, Fukui 910-1193, Japan

4 Division of Infection Control, University of Fukui Hospital, 23-3 Matsuoka-Shimoaizuki, Eiheiji, Fukui 910-1193, Japan

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BMC Clinical Pathology 2014, 14:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-14-6

Published: 30 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Central venous catheters provide easy access for intravenous infusion and nutrition, but they can bring about complications such as catheter-related infections. Infected central venous catheters often cause nosocomial bloodstream infections with high morbidity and mortality. However, most of the morphological data that have been published are derived from in vitro and in vivo studies and few reports of direct evidence obtained from patient-derived samples have been described. Here we present visual evidence of catheter-related candidemia. To our knowledge, this is the first reported conventional histopathological evidence of a Candida-infected intraluminal thrombus in a patient’s central venous catheter.

Case presentation

A 62-year-old Japanese female with obstructive jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver metastasis from pancreatic head cancer was given an implantable subcutaneous central venous port for nutrition and chemotherapy administration. High fever ensued on day 16 after the central venous port insertion and blood cultures revealed Candida albicans. Although the patient was given 300 mg/day of fosfluconazole according to the suggestion of the infection control team, she died from respiratory failure. Postmortem computed tomography revealed findings consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome, suggesting that the patient’s course was complicated by catheter-related sepsis. Autopsy revealed a subcutaneous abscess around the port, from which C. albicans was cultured. However, no catheter-adherent thrombus, thrombosis of the great central veins, or endocardial vegetations were detected in the patient. Histological analysis revealed scattered abscesses in several organs including lungs and kidneys. Hyaline membrane formation and Candida colonies were found in the lungs. The central venous port tube, together with the part of the subclavian vein into which it had been inserted, was involved in an intraluminal fibrin thrombus containing neutrophils and macrophages, indicating that the thrombus existed while the patient was alive. Histopathological examination following use of the periodic acid-Schiff reagent and the Grocott stain revealed scattered Candida in the thrombus.

Conclusions

Prophylactic thrombolysis should be encouraged to prevent central venous catheter-related candidiasis in clinical practice.

Keywords:
Autopsy; Candida spp; Central venous catheter; Sepsis; Thrombus; Pathological staining