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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 34-37
Gynecological Case Report

Spontaneous Occurrence of Gangrene Due to Clostridium septicum in a Patient With Advanced Endometrial Carcinoma

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University Medical Center, 550 North University Boulevard, UH #2440, Indianapolis 46202-5274, IN, USA

Received 12 January 1994; Accepted 23 March 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: We report the first known case of spontaneous, atraumatic Clostridium septicum gangrene occurring in a patient with recurrent endometrial adenocarcinoma.

Case: A 63-year-old white female undergoing chemotherapy for recurrent endometrial adenocarcinoma presented with right “arthritis-like” shoulder pain. She denied fever, chills, or shoulder trauma. The patient was afebrile and her blood pressure was 100/50. Her right shoulder and upper extremity were remarkable for an area of dark blue discoloration with crepitus. The white blood cell (WBC) count was 8,200/μl with left shift. Serum creatinine, platelet count, and coagulation studies were normal. Computed tomography revealed gas in the right shoulder tissues. A Gram stain of fluid aspirated from the shoulder demonstrated gram-positive spore-forming rods. She declined surgical intervention and expired within hours of admission. Cultures of the right shoulder eventually grew Clostridium septicum.

Conclusion: It is imperative to consider clostridial gangrene in the differential diagnosis for any patient with cancer and a fever of unknown origin.