Posted by: Mich | 2005/09/21

Klebsiella Virus

Please could you tell me all you know about the Klebsiealla Virus. My Aunt went into hospital (Sunninghill) 5 weeks ago for a Valve replacement operation. The op itself was a success but she is just not getting better and now they say she has the Klebsiella Virus. She has been in ICU for 35 days. She is on DialysisTreatment everyday and still on the ventilator. She has also had a tracheotomy done and a Cat Scan on Monday evening. Nobody seems to know much about this - please help as we are all feeling rather desperate and frustrated!

Many thanks for your time on this!

Kind regards

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Our expert says:
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Dear Mich,

Please bear in mind that my reply is based solely on the limited information you have provided, so that I have to make certain assumptions, and these may not be correct.

Your aunt seems to be in deadly serious trouble. From what you say, it sounds as though she has developed acute bacterial endocarditis. That is, an infection by the Klebsiella bacterium (not a virus), affecting her valve. The dialysis means that her kidneys are no longer functioning. The tracheostomy is done for any patient who requires long-term ventilation, (which could be for a variety of reasons) so her doctors are prepared for a long haul. If the CAT scan was done of her head, then I presume that they are looking for evidence of a stroke : this is a possible complication of endocarditis.

Klebsiella is a particularly nasty bug, and it often resistant to most antibiotics, so treatment can be extremely difficult.

In some patients, the only life-saving treatment may be to re-operate, remove the infected valve, and replace it with another one. This is a desperate move though, and cannot be done unless at least two successive blood cultures ( special tests looking for the bug in the blood) are negative, and the patient is in all other aspects a good surgical risk. I don’t know anything about your aunt, but a patient in her condition poses a very grave surgical risk, so I doubt whether her cardiac surgeon would risk redo surgery on her.

Please ask for an appointment with her surgeon, to discuss her prognosis. It may be good, but it may also be quite bleak. Whichever your surgeon indicates, the family needs to know.

I wish you strength in the days ahead, and I hope that your aunt recovers. I would be grateful for any further news of her – please access this forum again if you can.


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Our users say:
Posted by: Danie | 2013/04/19

Good day My father was admmited to a private hospital to have cancerous growths removed from his colon. He was in theatre for +/- 7 hours. They could'nt save the rectum muscles so they had to give him that litte bag (not sure what you call it). He was absolutely fine the two days after the operation and if I remember correctly it was on the third day, after they gave him yogurt to eat, that he started to have what seemed like hickup and bringing up winds. The next day he was back in ICU and a day or so thereafter he seemed very restless, also starting to pull out drips etc. They then started to sedate him and told us that he had brain seizures. (must just mention that he had a brain anuerysm operation in 2011). He then started losing conciousness according to them and in order to stop the brain seizures they had to put him in the deepest coma possible. Then they told us that he had pneumonia. Now they say that there is nothing that they can do for him anymore and want to transfer him to a stepdown facility. Today we were informed that they want to transfer him to a government hospital for meanwhile until the stepdown facility has an isolation room available. Some of the places we called examined him and does not want to take him because his got bugs according to them. I asked the docter what this bug is that they are reffering to and she informed me that it is klebsiella, but could'nt tell me which one because there are many of them according to her. This is the second time that we get the impression from them that they just want to get rid of him. Their reason for transferring him to a government hospital for now is that it will be a lot cheaper for the medical aid and that he will get the same treatment there, which I doubt. My question is, can they transfer him with that infection? Is there a way to treat this because according to them there hardly is, and lastly, does this constitute medical malpractice for which they can be held legally liable? Your advice will be much appreciated. You can also email me on Thank you Danie

Reply to Danie
Posted by: Mich | 2005/10/10

Dear Doctor

Many thanks for your reply and for your kind words. Just to let you know that my Aunt passed away on 06 October from a bleed on the brain. Her blood became too thin (the fault of the hospital staff according to my uncle) and she was pronounced brain dead on Wed 05 Oct. They turned the machine off on Thu 06 Oct, but I believe that she was already dead on late Tue afternoon when she had the bleed on the brain. My sisiter read the brain scan and said that it was a massive bleed and there was nothing that they could do for her.

We are all totally devastated and can't believe that she is gone. She was such an amazing lady and we will miss her terribly.

Thankyou anyway for your kind words.

Kind regards

Reply to Mich

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