Emphysematous cystitis: a review of the spectrum of disease

J Urol. 1992 Jan;147(1):134-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)37160-4.


Emphysematous cystitis is an uncommon condition in which pockets of gas are formed in and around the bladder wall by gas-forming organisms. Persons with diabetes, neurogenic bladder and chronic urinary infection are predisposed to the disease. Severity of illness ranges from an asymptomatic condition to life-threatening cystitis. We present 2 cases of emphysematous cystitis. One case was an incidental finding on evaluation of abdominal discomfort with resolution upon removal of predisposing factors. The other patient presented with an acute abdomen that progressed to severe necrotizing cystitis ultimately requiring cystectomy. The initial involvement of the urologist as a consultant is emphasized. A complete review of the literature describes the incidence, various presentations, associated diseases and organisms, pathogenesis, and available methods for diagnosis and treatment reported for this disease. Successful management depends on early diagnosis with correction of underlying causes, administration of appropriate antibiotics, establishment of adequate bladder drainage and surgical excision of involved tissue when required. Early detection and prompt treatment are encouraged.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystitis / diagnosis*
  • Cystitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cystitis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gases
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Urinary Bladder / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / complications


  • Gases