Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium bacteraemia as a complication of Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate, SPS) in sorbitol-induced ischaemic colitis

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We present the case report of an 80-year-old woman with chronic kidney disease stage G5 admitted to the hospital with fluid overload and hyperkalaemia. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate (SPS, Kayexalate) in sorbitol suspension was given orally to treat her hyperkalaemia, which precipitated an episode of SPS in sorbitol-induced ischaemic colitis with the subsequent complication of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) bacteraemia. SPS (Kayexalate) in sorbitol suspension has been implicated in the development of intestinal necrosis. Sorbitol, which is added as a cathartic agent to decrease the chance of faecal impaction, may be primarily responsible through several proposed mechanisms. The gold standard of diagnosis is the presence of SPS crystals in the colon biopsy. On a MEDLINE search, no previous reports of a VRE bacteraemia as a complication of biopsy-confirmed SPS in sorbitol ischaemic colitis were found. To the best of our knowledge, ours would be the first such case ever reported.

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