Lesson of the month 1: Spontaneous septic thrombophlebitis presenting with bacteraemia diagnosed by PET-CT scan

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Abstract

Spontaneous septic thrombophlebitis is a rare complication of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia. Its true incidence is unknown as septic thrombus is not often considered as a source in the typical ‘screen’ of tests used to find the source of a bacteraemia.

Positron emission tomography computerised tomography (PET-CT) is becoming increasingly available to physicians, is highly sensitive and yields specific anatomical information regarding abnormal metabolically active sites in infection, inflammation and neoplasia.

In this case, PET-CT enabled the identification of the source of a septic thrombus and enabled focused management. PET-CT should be considered as part of the raft of tests used to identify an obscure source of fever/bacteraemia.

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