A 65-year-old woman was admitted to our department due to high blood glucose for two days on February 29, 2016. Fasting blood glucose was 12.53mmol/L on February 28 without polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia and weight loss.
In the past medical history, she started to cough in January 2016. On February 2, the routine blood examination showed that white blood cells and neutrophils were higher than normal. Chest X-ray was normal. Moxifloxacin was given and symptoms were relieved slightly.
On examination, the temperature was 36.9℃. Auscultation of the chest was normal. On the evening of admission, body temperature rose to 37.8 C. On March 1st, white cell, neutrophil, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were increased. FBG was 10.5mmol/L, and HbA1c was 10.5%. Chest CT was normal. Piperacillin Tazobactam Sodium and Moxifloxacin were given, and insulin was used to lower blood glucose.
On March 2, body temperature was normal. And palpitation, tremor, sweating, fatigue and cold extremities appeared several times. Blood glucose test ruled out hypoglycemia. The above symptoms appeared again at around 4 pm, more serious than before. Gas analysis at 5:12pm showed PH 7.403 and lactic acid 19.27mmol/L. At 6:00pm, blood pressure started to drop. Vasoactive drug was given. In gas analysis at 6:27pm, PH was 7.237, lactic acid 21.05mmol/L. 5% NaHCO3 solution was given to buffer acidosis. Cardiac and respiratory arrested during transferring to ICU. Undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, vasoactive drugs and ventilator-assisted breathing were applied. Hemodialysis was used to counteract lactate acidosis. The bedside chest radiograph showed that the transmittance of left lung was decreased. On March 3, the transmittance of left lung was lower. Doctors prescribed Tylenol and Vancomycin. On March 4, left thoracic puncture and catheterization were performed. The pus was drained out and bacterial cultures were made. Klebsiella pneumoniae was cultured. Sensitive antibiotics therapy was chosen according to pleural cultures. On March 9, left empyema was removed and pericardial fenestration was performed by thoracoscope under general anesthesia. Nutritional support had been given. The patient gradually recovered and was discharged on April 9.
Palpitation, tremor, sweating and fatigue were the first manifestations of the condition change in this diabetic patient. The condition rapidly developed into septic shock and empyema. After active treatment, she was cured and discharged from hospital. Besides hypoglycemia, other diseases such as septic shock also may cause the symptoms of sympathetic excitation, which should be considered in order to avoid delaying the time of treatment. Furthermore, diabetic patients complicating with infection should be actively treated with effective antibiotics.