11-year-old survives cardiac failure after rare infection

Apr 05, 2012, 07:50 IST | Priyanka Vora

A resistant form of Staphylococcus infection led to pus formation around his heart, weakening its muscles, and causing cavities in his lungs; it also spread in his blood stream

When an 11-year-old village boy Chetan Gurav was rushed to JJ hospital last month, after he complained of acute breathlessness, doctors were shocked to discover that the Std V student was in cardiac failure.

Chetan was immediately rushed to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and after a battery of tests, doctors finally came to the conclusion that the boy was suffering from a rare medical condition, wherein a bacterial infection had caused pus to envelope his heart muscles, causing the organ to fail.

In medical parlance, Chetan is suffering from Staphylococcus infection, including pyopericardium with cavitary pneumonia.

Hard diagnosis: Chetan’s diagnosis was difficult because he exhibited none of the usual signs of the uncommon bacterial infection, such as ear discharge; he only suffered from high fever

This basically means that the bacterial infection has led to the formation of pus around the heart muscles, which were leading not only to cardiac failure, but also to cavities in the lungs.

Explaining the condition, head of the paediatric department, JJ hospital, Dr Ashok Rathod said, “This is a very rare case. The child only had a history of fever. The family went to a number of doctors, but they were unable to diagnose the cause of the high fever. When he came to us, his condition was critical, but we stabilised him with medication to control the infection.”

An X-ray revealed an unusual enlargement of the boy’s heart, with shocking fluid formation around it. The 2D Echo test confirmed the presence of a fluid, and doctors had to penetrate the chest with a catheter and drain the fluid.

Dr Sushant Mane said, “We aspirated some 400 ml of pus which was formed around the region of his heart. The pericardium, or the outer muscles covering the heart, was affected, which led to the weakening of the heart and the subsequent cardiac failure.”

The extracted pus was examined to reveal the rare infection.

Doctors were also worried about the fact that the infection had spread to his lungs, forming cavities in them. “He is suffering from a resistant form of Staphylococcus infection. Also, his lungs have huge cavities and the infection had also spread in the blood,” added Mane.

Chetan’s father Jaicharan said, “He is the most intelligent boy in our village. All the villagers are upset over his illness.

We went to many doctors, but no one could actually diagnose his condition, till we found our way to JJ hospital.”

His diagnosis was tricky, because Chetan exhibited none of the usual signs of the infection, such as ear discharge.

After 25 long days of hospitalisation at the facility, Chetan is now awaiting discharge.

Owing to recurrent pus formation, he has been on a catheter, which automatically aspirates the pus, restricting the possibility of another cardiac failure.
“I have cattle to attend to, they would be missing me. I want to go back to my village,” pleaded the boy, who hails from Pawasgoan village in Ratnagiri. 

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