Septic shock due to puerperal fever: CT findings

Case contributed by Dr Chris O'Donnell


Foetal death in utero with sepsis. Delayed vaginal delivery with infected liquor. Now severe hypotension with fever and ongoing foul vaginal discharge.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Female

Enlarged (post parturition) uterus with heterogeneous enhancement and swelling in the myometrium and endometrium especially at the fundus suggestive of localized sepsis.  Full hand of CT hypotension complex ie "black spleen" with virtually no ehancement in arterial and portal venous phases (HU of 49 to 58), "shock pancreas" with patchy enhancement and oedema in the adjacent mesentery, "shock liver" with reduced enhancement and periportal oedema, "shock bowel" with dilatation and mural oedema with increased enhancement and "black kidneys" showing markedly reduced enhancement especially in the arterial phase.  Note the splenic and renal arteries are patent on the angiogram thus reduced parenchymal enhancement is at an arteriole/capillary level. Aorta and IVC are not collapsed or slit-like.

Case Discussion

Septic shock can produce an indentical CT picture to severe hypovolaemia shock (ie CT hypotension complex) except in sepsis, the aorta is not reduced in calibre and the IVC is not slit-like as blood volume is normal.  In this case there is infection in the endometrium (endometritis) extending into the myometrium secondary to prolonged foetal death.  The common organism that causes such sepsis is Group A beta haemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes.  If septic shock ensues, it is often fatal.

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 41863
Published: 24th Dec 2015
Last edited: 16th Jul 2018
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.