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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Severe sepsis caused by Aeromonas hydrophila in a patient using tocilizumab: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Kenji Okumura, Fumihiro Shoji, Masaki Yoshida, Atsushi Mizuta, Ichiro Makino, Hidefumi Higashi
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-499) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

KO undertook the gathering of information for this case and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. FS conceived the manuscript and was a major contributor to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Aeromonas species do not commonly cause disease in humans. However, when disease is seen, it often occurs in patients with underlying immunosuppression or malignancy and has a high fatality rate.

Case presentation

A 72-year-old Japanese woman with rheumatoid arthritis treated with tocilizumab (which has an immunosuppressive effect) presented with severe epigastric pain. She had a fever with chills, hypotension and jaundice. She was diagnosed with acute suppurative cholangitis and treated with cefoperazone-sulbactam and an endoscopic drainage was performed. Jaundice was slightly improved, but the shock state and inflammatory reactions were prolonged as typical of septic shock. On the second day after admission, an electrocardiogram showed ST segment elevation and echocardiography showed ventricular wall dysfunction. Coronary arteries were patent in coronary angiography and she was diagnosed with stress-induced cardiomyopathy. Blood cultures showed Aeromonas hydrophila. A stool culture was negative for A. hydrophila. On day six, her white blood cell count and neutrophils were normalized and cefoperazone-sulbactam treatment was halted. Left ventricular function normalized on day twelve and a laparoscopic cholecystectomy for cholelithiasis was performed on the 16th day of hospitalization. A culture from the bile showed A. hydrophila. Eighteen days after surgery, tocilizumab treatment was restarted and there were no complications. Two months after restarting tocilizumab, our patient is stable without any serious events.


We present a rare case of A. hydrophila sepsis and acute suppurative cholangitis in an elderly patient with gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis using tocilizumab. This clinical course may suggest that preemptive treatment for cholelithiasis prior to using molecular-targeting agents might be feasible in elderly patients.

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