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Another cause of chest pain: Staphylococcus aureus sternal osteomyelitis in an otherwise healthy adult

Authors Vacek T, Rehman S, Yu S, Moza A, Assaly R

Received 4 May 2014

Accepted for publication 28 May 2014

Published 12 September 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 133—137

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IMCRJ.S67203

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Thomas P Vacek, Shahnaz Rehman, Shipeng Yu, Ankush Moza, Ragheb Assaly

Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo OH, USA

Abstract: Chest pain requires a detailed differential diagnosis with good history-taking skills to differentiate between cardiogenic and noncardiogenic causes. Moreover, when other symptoms such as fever and elevated white blood cell count are involved, it may be necessary to consider causes that include infectious sources. A 53-year-old female with no significant past medical history returned to the hospital with recurrent complaints of chest pain that was constant, substernal, reproducible, and exacerbated with inspiration and expiration. The chest pain was thought to be noncardiogenic, as electrocardiography did not demonstrate changes, and cardiac enzymes were found to be negative for signs of ischemia. The patient's blood cultures were analyzed from a previous admission and were shown to be positive for Staphylococcus aureus. The patient was started empirically on vancomycin, which was later switched to ceftriaxone as the bacteria were more sensitive to this antibiotic. A transthoracic echocardiogram did not demonstrate any vegetation or signs of endocarditis. There was a small right pleural effusion discovered on X-ray. Therefore, computed tomography as well as magnetic resonance imaging of the chest were performed, and showed osteomyelitis of the chest. The patient was continued on intravenous ceftriaxone for a total of 6 weeks. Tests for HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C were all found to be negative. The patient had no history of childhood illness, recurrent infections, or previous trauma to the chest, and had had no recent respiratory infections, pneumonia, or any underlying lung condition. Hence, her condition was thought to be a case of primary sternal osteomyelitis without known cause.

Keywords: substernal, pleuritic, myocardial infarction, differential

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