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J Reprod Med. 1994 Aug;39(8):649-51.

Streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome as an unusual complication of laparoscopic tubal ligation. A case report.

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Department of Medicine, Temple University Health Sciences Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140.


Toxic shock-like syndrome due to Streptococcus pyogenes is an unusual occurrence. Previously reported cases have been the result of focal infections with S pyogenes. We present a case in which manipulation of a colonized mucosal surface during laparoscopic tubal ligation was the presumed cause of the sepsis syndrome. Whereas other reports of this syndrome have all noted concurrent infections with S pyogenes, in this instance it was unclear if toxin-mediated disease was initiated by mild endometritis or iatrogenic manipulation of a colonized mucosal surface.


In Pennsylvania, a 29-year-old woman was admitted to Temple University Health Sciences Center in Philadelphia with hypotension (100/80 mmHg), fever (105.3 degrees Fahrenheit), and a diffuse, nondesquamating erythroderma. Five weeks earlier, she had delivered her last child vaginally. Three days before admission, she had undergone endotracheal intubation so surgeons could perform a laparoscopic tubal ligation with Falope Rings. Two days before the tubal ligation, she had had a sore throat. She experienced no surgical complications and was discharged the same day as the operation. The day before her latest admission, she experienced nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, and diffuse abdominal pain. Upon admission, her surgical incisions were clean and dry and had no erythema. Her pulse rate was 140 beats/minute. Her respiration rate was 20/minute. The white blood cell count was 15,200 cells/cu. m (71% neutrophils, 23% band forms, 2% lymphocytes, and 4% monocytes). Her potassium level was 3.2 mmol/l. The anion gap was 22. All blood and urine cultures were negative. She experienced mild uterine tenderness. Upon admission, physicians administered ticarcillin-clavulanate and vancomycin for suspected postoperative pelvic infection. After learning that cervical and pharyngeal cultures were positive for Streptococcus pyogenes, physicians changed to ampicillin, 1 g intravenously every 6 hours. On the 6th day, she was discharged and prescribed 500 mg oral amoxicillin every 8 hours for 2 weeks. Within 2 weeks, she felt fine, had a normal physical examination, no fever, and no rash. The major signs and symptoms indicated a toxin-mediated illness. Both mucosal surfaces colonized by S. pyogenes were manipulated during laparoscopy and manipulation may have caused minor tissue injury and hyperemia with subsequent dissemination of streptococcal toxin. In conclusion, the patient had a S. pyogenes toxin-induced toxic shock-like syndrome that mimicked a pelvic wound infection with gram-negative septicemia.

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