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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2003 Nov 28;128(48):2531-3.

[Fungemia after oral treatment with Saccharomyces boulardii in a patient with multiple comorbidities].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Virologie und Hygiene, Abteilung Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Krankenhaushygiene, Universität Rostock.



A 48-year-old diabetic with multiple co-morbidities presented with generalized micro- and macroangiopathy including peripheral artery disease stage IV with necroses in several digits of both feet. He was admitted to the department of surgery for the insertion of femoropopliteal bypasses.


Infectious parameters were elevated (CRP 66.1 mg/l, sedimentation rate 90/96), accompanied by anemia (Hb 7.1 mmol/l), leukocytosis (14.8 Gpt/l) and thrombocytosis (514 Gpt/l). Body temperature was normal (36.8 degrees C). With insulin treatment the patient became nearly normoglycemic (HbA1c 6.8 %).


After receiving different broad-spectrum antibiotics over seven weeks the patient developed Clostridium difficile toxin-positive diarrhea that resolved after administration of oral metronidazole and Saccharomyces boulardii (Perenterol ((R))). Three days after bypass insertion, both legs had to be amputated due to infection and beginning sepsis. The condition of the patient improved. However, eight days after bypass-insertion the patient developed a toxic megacolon and sepsis. Blood cultures yielded the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisae. Despite of intensive care treatment the patient died five days later from to multi-organ failure.


S. boulardii (synonym: S. cerevisiae) is considered an non-pathogenic probiotic yeast, and live yeast cells are used for supportive therapy of diarrhea. The present case and a review of the literature demonstrate that fungemia and sepsis are rare complications of the administration of S. boulardii in immunocompromised patients. For this reason the therapeutic usage of probiotics should be carefully considered regarding its risk-benefit potential.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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