Clinical features, management, and outcome of iliopsoas abscess associated with cardiovascular disorders: a hospital-based observational case series study

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Oct 25;20(1):474. doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2798-3.


Background: Iliopsoas abscess (IPA) is a rare clinical entity and is difficult to diagnose due to its insidious onset and nonspecific symptoms. The association between IPA and cardiovascular disorders (CVD) has been rarely reported. Computed tomographic (CT) scan can provide a definitive diagnosis of IPA and associated foci of adjacent structures. IPA is a life-threatening condition, especially when associated with CVD.

Materials and methods: We conducted a hospital-based observational study of IPA associated with CVD. Data were collected from the electronic clinical database of Taichung Veterans General Hospital (1520-bed tertiary referral hospital in central Taiwan) between July 2007 and December 2017. The diagnosis of IPA associated with CVD was confirmed by classical findings on CT and transesophageal echocardiography with compatible clinical presentation and cultures from pus/tissue and blood.

Results: Fifteen patients of IPA associated with CVD were studied. They included 12 males (80%) and 3 females (20%), with a mean age 63.2 ± 16.9 years (31-85 years). CVD included stent-graft/endograft infection of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) (40%), primary mycotic AAA (33.3%), and infective endocarditis (26.7%). Staphylococcus aureus is the most common microorganism in pus/tissue cultures (n = 3, 37.5%) and in blood cultures (n = 6, 40%). The average length of hospital stay was 33.1 ± 20.5 days (range, 3-81 days; median, 33 days). Hospital stay lasted 42.6 ± 19.2 days in the survival group and 19.0 ± 14.1 days (P = 0.018) in the non-survival group. Incidence of patients staying in the intensive care unit (ICU) with intubation > 3 days was 33% in the survival group and 100% (P = 0.028) in the non-survival group. Intra-hospital mortality rate was 40%. Poor prognostic factors in the non-survival group were hypoalbuminemia, hyponatremia, involved disc/vertebral body and/or epidural abscess, and ICU stay with intubation > 3 days. Cumulative survival rate was 25% under conservative treatments and 66.3% under aggressive treatments (P = 0.038).

Conclusion: Due to high mortality rates, clinicians should keep a high suspicion index for IPA associated with CVD through clinical presentation, physical examination, and imaging study. Timely empiric antibiotics for common bacteria, drainage for IPA, endovascular repair, or vascular reconstruction by graft replacement or bypass with intensive care should be mandatory to shorten the hospital stay, reduce medical costs, and lower mortality rate.

Keywords: Computed tomography (CT); Iliopsoas abscess (IPA); Infective endocarditis; Mycotic aneurysm; Stent-graft/Endograft infection.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Drainage
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Endovascular Procedures
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Psoas Abscess / complications*
  • Psoas Abscess / diagnosis
  • Psoas Abscess / mortality
  • Psoas Abscess / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / mortality
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Survival Rate
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents