Bilateral emphysematous pyelonephritis: a case report and review of the literature

Urology. 1996 Jan;47(1):129-34. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(99)80399-9.


Emphysematous pyelonephritis is a rare, rapidly progressive, life-threatening infection of the renal parenchyma. It most commonly is unilateral, is found almost exclusively in diabetics, is associated with gas-forming coliform bacteria, and is characterized by the presence of gas within the renal parenchyma. Early aggressive therapy (combined medical and surgical) is the hallmark of successful treatment. A high index of suspicion coupled with radiographic imaging is essential to make a timely diagnosis and guide therapeutic intervention. Bilateral emphysematous pyelonephritis is an even more rare phenomena, with only 14 reported cases in the English literature and is associated with a high patient mortality. We herein present an additional case and review the literature as it pertains to bilateral emphysematous pyelonephritis. Appropriate care requires aggressive combined medical and surgical therapy in an attempt to preserve renal function without increased mortality.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emphysema* / complications
  • Emphysema* / diagnosis
  • Emphysema* / etiology
  • Emphysema* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyelonephritis* / complications
  • Pyelonephritis* / diagnosis
  • Pyelonephritis* / etiology
  • Pyelonephritis* / therapy