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Kansenshogaku Zasshi. 2013 May;87(3):389-92.

[A case of Legionella pneumophila pneumonia accompanied by acute respiratory distress syndrome and epilepsy].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Division of Respiratory Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, The Jikei University School of Medicine.


A 32-year-old female with epilepsy presented at our hospital with high-grade fever, seizures, and unconsciousness. She was initially treated for aspiration pneumonia with ampicillin/sulbactam. Despite antibiotic therapy, her chest X-ray findings dramatically worsened, showing extension to the bilateral lung field. Her PaO2/FiO2 ratio decreased to 70.6. Rapid progression of hypoxia, unconsciousness, and hyponatremia led to the suspicion of Legionella pneumonia; however, it was difficult to make a definitive diagnosis because she had denied using a whirlpool spa and the initial urinary Legionella antigen test results were negative. Therefore, we repeated the Legionella urinary antigen test, which was positive. On the basis of these results, sputum polymerase chain reaction findings, and the four-fold elevation of paired antibodies, the patient was diagnosed as having Legionella pneumonia accompanied by acute respiratory distress syndrome. We considered administering fluoroquinolone antibiotics, that are recommended for severe Legionella pneumonia, although quinolones have a potential risk for causing convulsions. In this case, we carefully administered ciprofloxacin. The patient recovered consciousness after treatment without any relapse of epileptic seizures. We also administered a corticosteroid for severe pneumonia with the expectation of clinical improvement and to avoid intubation. We emphasize the importance of aggressive workup and empirical therapy for patients with Legionella pneumonia with rapidly worsening symptoms and clinical features such as unconsciousness, epilepsy, and hyponatremia and in whom fluoroquinolone and corticosteroid therapy are effective despite the presence of epilepsy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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