Refractory Escherichia Coli Pneumonia: A Case Report

Cureus. 2023 Feb 20;15(2):e35226. doi: 10.7759/cureus.35226. eCollection 2023 Feb.


Escherichia (E.) coli pneumonia is a rare infection commonly presenting with a cavitary lesion. We report a case of a 44-year-old Hispanic male with comorbidities who was admitted to our facility with multiple falls for two days, shortness of breath, continuous diarrhea, and urinary urgency. Lab results showed leukocytosis with neutrophil predominance, anemia, and respiratory alkalosis. The patient was also noted to have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus with an A1c of 17.6%. Prior to admission to the medical intensive care unit (MICU), the patient was administered vancomycin and cefepime. The patient was then started on fluconazole while admitted to the MICU. In addition, a chest X-ray was conducted, showing patchy airspace opacities in the right upper lobe. A chest and abdominal CT also showed multiple cavitary lesions, pulmonary nodules, and nodular liver contour. Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage conferred trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole-resistant E. coli without fungal or acid-fast bacilli growth and was subsequently started on ampicillin/sulbactam. Infectious disease was consulted and advised to begin ertapenem. The patient developed increased respiratory demands and was subsequently started on mechanical ventilation with vasopressors. The patient was successfully weaned off and downgraded to the telemetry floor. The patient was successfully discharged in stable condition. This case highlights a severe and uncommon complication of E. coli infection causing pneumonia with cavitary lesions.

Keywords: cavitary lung lesions; e. coli bacteremia; e. coli pneumonia; rapid deterioration; refractory pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports