Features of hemolysis due to Clostridium perfringens infection


Scott D. Boyd, Department of Pathology, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Tel.: 650 723 7211; Fax: 650 736 1476; E-mail: sboyd1@stanford.edu


Infection by Clostridium perfringens can be an unsuspected cause of hemolysis in emergency room patients. Historically, this condition has been associated with wound contamination and other tissue infections. We report the case of an autistic patient who presented to our emergency department with a distended abdomen and hemolysis of unknown etiology. The patient had no history of recent surgery. Exploration of the abdomen revealed a hepatic abscess. Blood cultures tested culture positive for C. perfringens. We present images demonstrating the salient features of the peripheral blood smear in cases of this uncommon but deadly cause of hemolysis.