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Staphylococcus epidermis Mediastinitis and Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Carol A. Kauffman, M.D.; Medical Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center; Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the University of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn Arbor, Michigan; and the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ann Intern Med. 1984;101(1):60-61. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-101-1-60
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Mediastinitis is one of the most serious complications of median sternotomy for cardiac surgery. Early diagnosis allowing aggressive surgical debridement and appropriate antibiotic therapy is crucial to the patient's recovery (1, 2). Staphylococcus epidermidis has been isolated commonly from mediastinal tissues, but usually is found along with other organisms and is not believed to be pathogenic (1). We report that S. epidermidis alone may cause severe mediastinitis and show that this organism is able to cause fatal disseminated intravascular coagulation and the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome.

A 48-year-old man with diabetes mellitus and a previous myocardial infarction had a coronary artery saphenous


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