Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 31-35
Obstetrics Case Report

Clostridium sordellii Toxic Shock Syndrome: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

1Department of Pathology, Ohio State University Medical Center, 129 Hamilton Hall, 1645 Neil Avenue, Columbus 43210, OH, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA

Received 11 August 1995; Accepted 3 January 1996

Copyright © 1996 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: Since the 1980s, there have been isolated reports of a toxic shock syndrome associated with Clostridium sordellii necrotizing subcutaneous infections during the puerperium. Relatively localized fascial and muscle necrosis is noted at the surgical incision sites. However, circulating toxins produce marked edema, resulting in shock and cardiovascular collapse. Despite aggressive surgical and supportive therapy, all postpartum cases thus far have been fatal.

Case: A 24-year-old primipara developed an episiotomy infection which progressed to involve the underlying fascia and muscle. Despite early and adequate debridement of the devitalized tissue, she developed anasarca, marked leukocytosis, refractory hypotension, hypothermia, and a persistent coagulopathy, and expired on postpartum day 5. The cultures from the excised tissue grew C. sordellii All blood cultures were negative.

Conclusion: Treatment modalities aimed solely at the eradication of the microbe and removal of necrotic tissue, although essential components of therapy, have proved inadequate. Future efforts should be directed toward neutralization or elimination of the circulating exotoxins responsible for the systemic shock.