Image_3_Nocardia Infection in Nephrotic Syndrome Patients: Three Case Studies and A Systematic Literature Review.tif (13.87 MB)

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posted on 2022-01-24, 12:08 authored by Yan Cheng, Tian-yi Wang, Hong-li Yuan, Wei Li, Jing-ping Shen, Zheng-xin He, Jing Chen, Jie-ying Gao, Fu-kun Wang, Jiang Gu

The multicenter literature review and case studies of 3 patients were undertaken to provide an updated understanding of nocardiosis, an opportunistic bacterial infection affecting immunosuppressed nephrotic syndrome (NS) patients receiving long-term glucocorticoid and immunosuppressant treatment. The results provided clinical and microbiological data to assist physicians in managing nocardiosis patients.


Three cases between 2017 and 2018 from a single center were reported. Additionally, a systematic review of multicenter cases described in the NCBI PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase in English between January 1, 2001 and May 10, 2021 was conducted.


This study described three cases of Nocardia infection in NS patients. The systematic literature review identified 24 cases with sufficient individual patient data. A total of 27 cases extracted from the literature review showed that most patients were > 50 years of age and 70.4% were male. Furthermore, the glucocorticoid or corticosteroid mean dose was 30.9 ± 13.7 mg per day. The average time between hormone therapy and Nocardia infection was 8.5 ± 9.7 months. Pulmonary (85.2%) and skin (44.4%) infections were the most common manifestations in NS patients, with disseminated infections in 77.8% of patients. Nodule/masses and consolidations were the major radiological manifestations. Most patients showed elevated inflammatory biomarkers levels, including white blood cell counts, neutrophils percentage, and C-reactive protein. Twenty-five patients received trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole monotherapy (18.5%) or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole-based multidrug therapy (74.1%), and the remaining two patients (7.4%) received biapenem monotherapy. All patients, except the two who were lost to follow-up, survived without relapse after antibiotic therapy.


Nephrotic syndrome patients are at high risk of Nocardia infection even if receiving low-dose glucocorticoid during the maintenance therapy. The most common manifestations of nocardiosis in NS patients include abnormal lungs revealing nodules and consolidations, skin and subcutaneous abscesses. The NS patients have a high rate of disseminated and cutaneous infections but a low mortality rate. Accurate and prompt microbiological diagnosis is critical for early treatment, besides the combination of appropriate antibiotic therapy and surgical drainage when needed for an improved prognosis.


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