Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) pneumonia with severe sepsis in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), who is predisposed after treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFI), is a rare severe infection and can be successfully treated with prompt antibiotics.Case presentation:
A 75-year-old woman was diagnosed with RA >30 years previously. After inadequate treatment responses to conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), she developed progressive RA, including swollen joints in both hands, and had a high disease activity score of 4.96 when presenting at our rheumatology clinic. She had started taking the TNFI, golimumab (50 mg/month), 3 years before and developed a productive cough 4 weeks before this admission. One week after admission, she developed fever, dyspnea, hypoxemia, tachycardia, and increased serum C-reactive protein level.Diagnosis:
Chest plain film (CxR) and computed tomography of the chest showed hospital-acquired pneumonia; microbial examination of the sputum showed the presence of MDRAB.Therapeutics:
She was prescribed a full course of antibiotics with cefoperazone sulbactam.Outcomes:
CxR showed complete remission of pneumonia.Conclusion:
Biological DMARDs, such as TNFI, act as a double-edged sword: these drugs are used to treat autoimmune diseases, but they increase the risk of infection. The trend toward antibiotic resistance and persistent environmental survival of MDRAB is an emerging problem in countries with high rates of antibiotic abuse. TNFI may affect intestinal immunity by inducing dysbiosis, which affects T helper 17–mediated mucosal immunity and can contribute to A baumannii colonization and the development of MDRAB in frequently hospitalized patients.