Disseminated fatal human cytomegalovirus disease after severe trauma.
ABSTRACT Disseminated human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) disease is considered to be uncommon in critically ill but otherwise not immunosuppressed patients. We describe the case of a trauma victim who developed fatal HCMV disease that initially presented as pseudomembranous colitis and resulted in sudden cardiac death.
Case report of fatal HCMV disease in a previously healthy patient after multiple trauma.
Surgical intensive care unit (ICU).
A 63-yr-old male patient with multiple injuries.
Under ICU treatment, symptoms of HCMV reactivation presenting as pseudomembranous colitis appeared 32 days after trauma. Detailed laboratory examinations for HCMV infection were performed, including complement fixation titer, immunoglobulin G and M, polymerase chain reaction, and virus isolation.
The intravital detection of HCMV DNA in serum, leukocytes, and a colonic biopsy specimen indicated HCMV reactivation. Postmortem examination findings, including positive viral cultures, showed severe disseminated HCMV disease with involvement of the colon and myocardium.
The lack of specific clinical symptoms of HCMV disease and the delay until viral culture results are available make an exact and timely diagnosis of HCMV disease difficult. Its prevalence in critically ill but otherwise not immunosuppressed patients is currently unknown and possibly underestimated. Because severe illness or trauma can cause immunodysfunction and, thus, may contribute to an increased rate of HCMV disease, detailed studies are warranted to evaluate the real risk in the ICU setting.