Emphysematous cystitis: a review of the literature

Intern Med. 2014;53(2):79-82. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.53.1121. Epub 2012 Mar 1.


Emphysematous cystitis (EC) is a rare form of complicated urinary tract infection, its characteristic feature being gas within the bladder wall and lumen. Patients with EC present with variable clinical manifestations ranging from asymptomatic to severe sepsis. EC is typically observed in elderly women with severe diabetes mellitus. Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are often isolated from urine cultures. Imaging methods, such as plain conventional abdominal radiography and computed tomography, are pivotal for obtaining a definitive diagnosis of EC. Most cases can be treated with a combination of antibiotics, bladder drainage and glycemic control. EC is potentially life-threatening, with a mortality rate of 7%. Early medical intervention can contribute to achieving a favorable prognosis without the need for surgical intervention. In this review, we provide a comprehensive description of the clinical characteristics of EC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cystitis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cystitis* / drug therapy
  • Cystitis* / epidemiology
  • Cystitis* / microbiology
  • Cystitis* / prevention & control
  • Cystitis* / surgery
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy
  • Drainage
  • Emphysema* / diagnostic imaging
  • Emphysema* / drug therapy
  • Emphysema* / epidemiology
  • Emphysema* / microbiology
  • Emphysema* / prevention & control
  • Emphysema* / surgery
  • Female
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents