Differential diagnosis of atypical encephalopathy in critical care: a case report.

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Differential diagnosis of atypical encephalopathy in critical care: a case report.

BMC Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 16;20(1):763

Authors: Li C, Peng MY, Chang CH, Hsu YY, Hsieh MS, Lin SK, Lee YH, Yang MC

BACKGROUND: A lower level of consciousness is a common presentation in critical care, with many different causes and contributory factors, of which more than one may be present concurrently.
CASE PRESENTATION: We described a woman with poorly controlled diabetes and steroid-dependent asthma who presented in a deep coma. She was found to have Streptococcus intermedius bacteremia and pyogenic ventriculitis that originated from right middle lobe pneumonia. Also, multiple small parenchymal lesions were observed on brain magnetic resonance imaging and increased protein concentration was noted in cerebral spinal fluid. Initially, her coma was thought to be due to diabetic ketoacidosis and septic encephalopathy. However, her lowered level of consciousness was disproportionate to either diabetic ketoacidosis or septic encephalopathy, and her clinical course was not as expected for these two conditions. Treatment with antibiotic, corticosteroid and antihelminthic drugs was administered resulting in improving consciousness. The Streptococcus intermedius pneumonia progressed to form a large cavity that needed an early surgical lobectomy and resulted in the unexpected diagnosis of chronic cavitary pulmonary aspergillosus.
CONCLUSIONS: In critical care, a lowered level of consciousness may have many etiologies, and critical care clinicians should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of all possible causes to enable prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

PMID: 33066738 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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