Clinical characteristics of emphysematous pyelonephritis

H. J. Tang, C. M. Li, M. Y. Yen, Y. S. Chen, S. R. Wann, H. H. Lin, S. S.J. Lee, Y. C. Liu

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80 Citations (Scopus)


A total of 21 patients (20 women and one man) with emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN), treated in the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital during the period from 1991 through 1999 were included in this study. All of the patients were diabetic. The most common symptoms or signs were fever/chills (80%) and costovertebral angle knocking pain (71%). Diagnosis was confirmed by the presence of gas in the parenchyma or paranephric space on plain X-ray of the abdomen or computed tomography. The left kidney (11 cases, 52%) was more frequently affected than the right one (nine cases, 43%), and both kidneys were involved in one case. Obstruction of the corresponding renoureteral unit was found in 19% of the patients, and renal or ureteral stone was found in 23% of the patients. One third of the patients had type I EPN, and two-thirds had type II EPN. Escherichia coli was the most commonly isolated organism, accounting for 61%, 76%, and 47% of isolates from blood, urine, and aspirated pus culture respectively. Prompt control of blood sugar was begun and intravenous antibiotics were given. Drainage was performed in 71% of the patients, and two persons required nephrectomy because of poor control of the infection or complications. Overall survival was 72%. Emphysematous pyelonephritis is a rare, life-threatening, suppurative infection of the renal parenchyma and perirenal tissues. For successful management of EPN, appropriate medical treatment should be initiated, and immediate nephrectomy or drainage should not be delayed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Emphysematous pyelonephritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy


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