acute bilateral pyelonephritis; urinary tract infection; diabetes mellitus; prediabetes; kidneys; case report


Infectious Disease | Internal Medicine | Nephrology



Acute pyelonephritis is a bacterial infection that starts in the bladder and ascends to the kidneys, causing inflammation of the renal parenchyma. Women are more likely to get infected compared to men, with diabetics being at higher risk. The pathophysiology of how diabetics are more prone to getting urinary tract infections/pyelonephritis has been studied, particularly the difference between bilateral pyelonephritis and unilateral pyelonephritis.

Case Presentation

This case presentation follows a 51-year-old Spanish-speaking woman with a past medical history of prediabetes, bilateral tubal ligation, and perimenopause. She presented to the hospital for abdominal and back pain, fevers, and weakness that she had for a week. An intake of her history and a physical examination led to the initial diagnosis of cystitis, but the imaging drove the authors to the correct diagnosis of acute bilateral pyelonephritis with Escherichia coli growing in the urine. She was then treated with the appropriate antibiotics. During her hospital stay, she was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Imaging is not usually used to diagnose pyelonephritis, but it is necessary in some cases and can help identify complications. There are multiple case reports about acute pyelonephritis, but there are few that touch on acute bilateral pyelonephritis.


We are highlighting this case presentation since it shows how a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes is at more of a risk of developing acute bilateral pyelonephritis. This information is important not only to add to medical knowledge but also to allow physicians to emphasize diabetic control in order to minimize the chance of developing pyelonephritis.