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Impact of CT in patients with sepsis of unknown origin.

Acta Radiologica 1999 September
PURPOSE: To evaluate the diagnostic relevance of CT in patients with sepsis of unknown origin.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sixty-three consecutive intensive care patients with suspicion of an abscess and negative or inconclusive previous radiological examinations were included. CT was performed using the helical technique. A total of 45 abdominal and 38 chest examinations were evaluated.

RESULTS: 5/38 examinations of the chest revealed the source of sepsis (pleural empyema 2, lung abscess 1, mediastinitis 1, retrosternal abscess 1). 7/45 abdominal CT examinations showed the source of sepsis (intraabdominal abscess 2, hepatic abscess 3, intestinal perforation 1, gangrenous colitis 1).

CONCLUSION: CT is useful for the evaluation of patients with fever or sepsis without a known source. Due to the detection of a septic focus by CT, 19% of the patients in our study could be immediately referred to causal therapy as percutaneous drainage or surgery.

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