Gas gangrene secondary to Clostridium perfringens in pediatric oncology patients

A. M M Temple, Neal J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To report 2 cases of severe gas gangrene secondary to Clostridium perfringens in pediatric oncology patients. Methods: We describe 2 children with acute presentations of gas gangrene secondary to C. perfringens. Both children were initially seen and treated in a community hospital emergency department and subsequently were cared for in a pediatric intensive care unit in a tertiary care, university-based children's hospital. Results: Both children demonstrated severe and unrelenting decompensation and required operative intervention within the first hospital day, which included amputation of the infected limb. One child survived and one child expired despite heroic measures. Conclusions: Gas gangrene secondary to C. perfringens is an uncommon but life-threatening and limb-threatening condition in pediatric cancer patients. A high index of suspicion in a immunocompromised child with cancer who presents with extremity pain in combination with neutropenia is the key to early diagnosis and may lead to improved survival. This disease requires prompt recognition and aggressive treatment to allow any hope of recovery. Emergency medicine physicians who treat these children should be aware of this severe and potentially fatal infectious process and should not delay treatment or prompt orthopedic surgery consultation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-459
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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