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Septic Shock with Fever

An 86 year old patient presented with fevers and lethargy for one week.


This case highlights not only the benefit of rapid species identification with the T2Bacteria Panel but also the Panel’s ability to prevent therapy that is not necessary as well as to detect the causative organisms that blood cultures may not due to infection localized within an abscess.


An 86 year old patient presented with fevers and lethargy for one week. The patient had a history of an ischemic stroke complicated by residual right-sided weakness, type II diabetes, atrial fibrillation, recurrent urinary tract infections (history of Proteus mirabilis, E. coli, ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae) as well as a known perianal fistula with ischioanal abscess. On arrival, the patient was in septic shock with fever to 103°F, hypotension requiring pressors, and lactate 3.8. The patient was started on vancomycin, meropenem, doxycycline, and a one-time dose of amikacin for empiric coverage based on prior cultures. Four blood cultures were collected in the ED as well as a T2Bacteria Panel.

CT abdomen/pelvis with contrast was performed which showed the increased size of left ischioanal fluid collection compared to CT previously. Urinalysis was sent with >100 WBCs and negative for bacteria.  Urine culture showed no growth, however, urine was obtained after initiation of antibiotics.

Patient Selection Criteria

A septic patient presenting in the Emergency Department

Evaluation and Treatment

Empiric Therapy

The patient was started on vancomycin, meropenem, doxycycline, and a one-time dose of amikacin

T2Bacteria Panel Result

Positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae, negative for the remaining four pathogens.

Hospital Course and Decision Making Based on the T2Bacteria Panel Result

The patient was transferred from the ED to the medical ICU where broad-spectrum antibiotics were continued and ID was consulted.  The T2Bacteria resulted and was positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae. At this point, the patient was not administered an additional dose of amikacin and the doxycycline was discontinued. Blood culture eventually grew Gram-positive cocci pairs & chains but no Gram-negative rods.  Overall, the patient was improving on broad-spectrum antibiotics, and given that the T2Bacteria Panel was negative for E. faecium despite having pairs and chains in his blood, the ID consults team felt more comfortable with holding off on empiric VRE coverage based on the T2Bacteria result. Blood cultures ultimately speciated to Streptococcus anginosus a day and a half later, but no Klebsiella. The patient’s perianal fluid collection was subsequently drained by colorectal surgery the next day, as this was likely the source of infection which grew many Proteus mirabilis, moderate Klebsiella pneumoniae, and moderate Streptococcus anginosus.

T2Bacteria picked up the Klebsiella from the patient’s abscess but it was never detected in blood culture. Antibiotics were subsequently de-escalated from vancomycin and meropenem to ceftriaxone given that the organisms were highly susceptible (non-ESBL) to complete a fourteen-day course.

According to the CDC, of the 154 million prescriptions for antibiotics written in doctors’ offices and emergency departments each year, 30% are unnecessary.12