Shunt nephritis from Propionibacterium acnes in a solitary kidney

Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Oct;38(4):E18. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2001.27726.


Since its initial description in 1965, immune complex glomerulonephritis associated with ventriculoatrial shunts (VAS) has been reported widely in the literature. The most common incriminating organism is Staphylococcus epidermidis, but less often, an organism generally regarded as nonpathogenic, such as Propionibacterium acnes, has been noted as the cause. Shunt infection usually occurs within a few months after placement or manipulation of the shunt, and shunt nephritis (SN) develops gradually over months to years after. Treatment involves mandatory removal of the shunt and antibiotics; prognosis is variable. We report a case of SN with P acnes that is unusual because of its occurrence in a solitary kidney 6 years after shunt placement, persistently negative blood cultures, and normal complement levels. Percutaneous biopsy of a solitary kidney should be considered if it is expected that the result may guide therapy of progressive renal failure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / microbiology*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / pathology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / abnormalities*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Propionibacterium*
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / adverse effects*