Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus infective endocarditis presenting as neutrophilic meningoencephalitis

Tushar Bajaj, Anthony Karapetians, Natalie Karapetians, Hanh Duong, Arash Heidari


Infective endocarditis (IE) with Staphylococcus aureus is associated with intravenous drug abuse or infected cardiac devices and commonly presents with non-specific constitutional symptoms. A 53-year-old female presented to the hospital with back pain, altered mental status, fever, and tachycardia. Due to patient’s lethargy and decline in respiratory effort, she was intubated and lumbar puncture was performed that revealed neutrophil-predominant leukocytosis of the cerebrospinal fluid. The patient was empirically started on ceftriaxone and vancomycin, and blood cultures were positive for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A chest X-ray demonstrated pulmonary congestion and an implanted pacemaker; furthermore, a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) revealed a vegetation on the atrial lead of the pacemaker. As the patient’s condition improved after a few days, she was extubated and was able to provide a clear history. The source of her infection was a pus pocket around her pacemaker which was placed two months prior to her admission. As expected, the infection resolved with proper source control and antibiotic therapy.