A Patient with Generalized Weakness - A Case Report


Far West


Riverside Community Hospital

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



weakness, sepsis, urology, CT scan, emphysematous pyelonephritis


Emergency Medicine | Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications


UNLABELLED: Emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN) is a rare and life-threatening sequalae of a urinary tract infection marked by a gas-producing necrotizing infection of the renal parenchyma requiring prompt treatment. It has been found to be correlated with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and is more common in females due to their increased susceptibility to urinary tract infections. Early recognition and treatment of EPN are essential to improve the patient's prognosis and prevent further complications. In this case we highlight a progressive case of pyelonephritis complicated by emphysematous abscess formation requiring surgical management. A 49-year-old female with a history of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and lupus who presented to the emergency department (ED) for evaluation of generalized weakness. Lactate was elevated and urinalysis was suggestive of infection. A computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis revealed a large subcapsular fluid collection with multiple gas and air-fluid levels along the right kidney, as well as another suspected fluid collection adjacent to the upper pole of the right kidney. The findings suggested complicated pyelonephritis with emphysematous abscess formation. Urology was consulted and they suggested a perinephric drain be placed by interventional radiology (IR). The patient progressed well and was ultimately discharged days later in stable condition. Despite its rarity, healthcare providers should consider infectious processes such as EPN in the differential for generalized weakness and promptly initiate appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures.

TOPICS: Weakness, sepsis, urology, CT scan.

Publisher or Conference

Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine