Skip to content


Open Access

Post-ERCP bacteremia caused by Alcaligenes xylosoxidans in a patient with pancreas cancer

  • Gurdal Yilmaz1Email author,
  • Kemalettin Aydin1,
  • Iftihar Koksal1,
  • Rahmet Caylan1,
  • Korhan Akcay1 and
  • Mehmet Arslan2
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials20065:19

Received: 29 May 2006

Accepted: 01 September 2006

Published: 01 September 2006


Alcaligenes xylosoxidans is an aerobic, motile, oxidase and catalase positive, nonfermentative Gram negative bacillus. This bacterium has been isolated from intestine of humans and from various hospital or environmental water sources. A.xylosoxidans is both waterborne and results from the poor-hygienic conditions healthcare workers are in. In this case report, the bacteremia which appeared in a patient with pancreas cancer after ERCP was described.


Cystic FibrosisPancreas CancerESBL ProducerTherapeutic ERCPAchromobacter Xylosoxidans


Bacteremia is a rare complication of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and biliary stents. The rate of post-ERCP cholangitis and sepsis ranges from 0.5% to 3.0% [1, 2].

Alcaligenes xylosoxidans is a rare cause of bacteremia. This organism, also known as Achromobacter xylosoxidans, is an aerobic, motile, oxidase and catalase positive, nonfermentative Gram negative bacillus. A.xylosoxidans is opportunistic and usually affects severely immunocompromised patients such as those with neutropenia and those with a malignant or cardiovascular disease [3, 4]. This microorganism has been isolated from blood, cerebrospinal fluid, stool, urine, sputum, peritoneal fluid, skin, ear discharge, wounds, abscesses, bone, joints, endocardium and central venous catheters [38].

In the present report is described a case with bacteremia due to A.xylosoxidans post-ERCP in patient of pancreas cancer.

Case report

A 70-year-old man was admitted to our hospital with a 10-day history of jaundice and abdominal pain. The patient is known to have suffered from pancreas cancer for three months and he was received second cycle of chemotherapy before one month. His vitality signs were: blood pressure was 110/70 mmHg, body temperature 36.3°C and pulse rate 68/min. His peripheral white blood cell count was 6.4 × 109/L, erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 72 mm/h and C-reactive protein was 4.6 mg/dL. Four days later, the stent was placed into the biliary tract with ERCP. One day later, the patient was lethargic. His vitality signs were: blood pressure was 90/50 mmHg, body temperature 39.7°C and pulse rate 112/min. His peripheral white blood cell count was 14.1 × 109/L with 86% neutrophils and 8% lymphocytes. His erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 80 mm/h and C-reactive protein was 11.2 mg/dL. Blood and urine specimens were taken for microbiologycal analysis. We started to administer empirical treatment with ceftriaxone (1000 mg per 12 h; IV) to the patient. In blood culture (Bactec 9240; Becton Dickinson, Sparks, Md.), Gram negative bacillus was found to have reproduced. This microorganism identified with the help of Phoenix system (Becton Dickinson, Sparks, Md.) and biochemical tests. It was called as A.xylosoxidans. A.xylosoxidans was distinguished from other Alcaligenes species by acidification of oxidative-fermentative (OF) glucose and xylose. Key characteristics of A.xylosoxidans are shown in Table 1.
Table 1

Key characteristics of A.xylosoxidans







OF xylose

Acid reaction

OF glucose

Acid reaction





Ketoglutaric acid


Gamma glutamil


NO3 to NO2












The urine culture was sterile. Three days later, the initial treatment was modified to ciprofloxacine (200 mg per 12 h; IV) according to antimicrobial susceptibility test. In-vitro susceptibility data are shown in Table 2. This isolate is an ESBL producer. Five days later, the clinical condition of the patient improved. He was discharged in a good clinical condition after 15 days.
Table 2

In-vitro susceptibility profile of A.xylosoxidans

Antimicrobial agent























Obstruction of the bile duct by stones or tumor can facilitate bacterial colonization; subsequent instrumentation has resulted in bacteremia rates mean 18.0%. [9, 10]. The highest bacteremia rates are seen in therapeutic ERCP. In purely diagnostic ERCP, the bacteremic rate is lower at 8% [10, 11]. The microorganism most responsible for post-ERCP bacteremia is Escherichia coli [9]. A.xylosoxidans is a rare but important cause of bacteremia in immunocompromised patients. The gastrointestinal tract has been suggested as a source for A.xylosoxidans bacteremia in patients with cancer [12]. Our case report is the first one associated with A.xylosoxidans that causes post-ERCP bacteremia.

A.xylosoxidans has been isolated from intestine of humans and from various hospital or environmental water sources [13]. The natural sources of A.xylosoxidans infections are well water, tap water, swimming pools, and moist soil [14, 15]. A.xylosoxidans causing nosocomial infections is waterborne (disinfectant solutions, intravenous fluids, dialysis solutions) and results from the fact that healthcare workers do not use gloves [13, 15, 16]. In our case, peripheral factors wereanalysed as a source of infection but any environmental contamination couldn't be indicated. Thatthe patient had symptoms of infection one day after ERCP made us think that the infection was from the intestines.

A.xylosoxidans is a weakly virulent microorganism. In general, there is an underlying dissease in patients. A.xylosoxidans have been reported in patients with cancer, neutropenia, bone marrow or liver transplant, renal failure, cystic fibrosis, HIV infection, IgM deficiency, neonates [46, 15, 17].

This report showed that A.xylosoxidans was sensitive to cefoperazone/sulbactam, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, piperacillin/tazobactam and trimethoprim/sulfametoxazole and resistant to the third generation cephalosporins with the exception of the cefoperazone/sulbactam, amikacin and tobramycin. In previous studies, it was reported that A.xylosoxidans was resistant to most of the antimicrobial agents [15, 17, 18].

In summary, the post-ERCP bacteremia caused by A.xylosoxidans was presented in a 70-year-old man with pancreas cancer. The case report may help to redefine the role of A.xylosoxidans in post ERCP infections. The association of A.xylosoxidans with bacteremia further extends the clinical spectrum of this rare pathogen. This unusual case highlights that an effective antimicrobial therapy based on an immediate microbiologycal analysis may be life-saving in patients presenting a severe complication of ERCP.


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine, Trabzon, Turkey
Department of Gastroenterology, Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine, Trabzon, Turkey


  1. Loperfido S, Angelini G, Benedetti G, Chilovi F, Costan F, De Berardinis F, De Bernardin M, Ederle A, Fina P, Fratton A: Major early complications from diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP: a prospective multicenter study. Gastrointest Endosc. 1998, 48: 1-10. 10.1016/S0016-5107(98)70121-XView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Masci E, Toti G, Mariani A, Curioni S, Lomazzi A, Dinelli M, Minoli G, Crosta C, Comin U, Fertitta A, Prada A, Passoni GR, Testoni PA: Complications of diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP: a prospective multicenter study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001, 96: 417-423. 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.03594.xView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Duggan JM, Goldstein SJ, Chenoweth CE, Kauffman CA, Bradley SF: Achromobacter xylosoxidans bacteremia: report of four cases and review of the literature. Clin Infect Dis. 1996, 23: 569-576.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Aisenberg G, Rolston KV, Safdar A: Bacteremia caused by Achromobacter and Alcaligenes species in 46 patients with cancer (1989–2003). Cancer. 2004, 101: 2134-2140. 10.1002/cncr.20604View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Gradon JD, Mayrer AR, Hayes J: Pulmonary abscess associated with Alcaligenes xylosoxidans in a patient with AIDS. Clin Infect Dis. 1993, 17: 1071-1072.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Ahn Y, Kim NH, Shin DH, Park OY, Kim W, Jeong MH, Cho JG, Park JC, Kang JC: Pacemaker lead endocarditis caused by Achromobacter xylosoxidans. J Korean Med Sci. 2004, 19: 291-293.PubMed CentralView ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Weissgold DJ, Kirkpatrick B, Iverson M: Acute postoperative Alcaligenes xylosoxidans endophthalmitis. Retina. 2003, 23: 578-580. 10.1097/00006982-200308000-00032View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ramos JM, Domine M, Ponte MC, Soriano F: Bacteremia caused by Alcaligenes (Achromobacter) xylosoxidans. Description of 3 cases and review of the literature. Enferm InfeccMicrobiol Clin. 1996, 14: 436-440.Google Scholar
  9. Leung JW, Ling TK, Chan RC, Cheung SW, Lai CW, Sung JJ, Chung SC, Cheng AF: Antibiotics, biliary sepsis, and bile duct stones. Gastrointest Endosc. 1994, 40: 716-721.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Kullman E, Borch K, Lindstrom E, Ansehn S, Ihse I, Anderberg B: Bacteremia following diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP. Gastrointest Endosc. 1992, 38: 444-449.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Mollison LC, Desmond PV, Stockman KA, Andrew JH, Watson K, Shaw G, Breen K: A prospective study of septic complications of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1994, 9: 55-59.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Legrand C, Anaissie E: Bacteremia due to Achromobacter xylosoxidans in patients with cancer. Clin Infect Dis. 1992, 14: 479-484.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Vu-Thien H, Darbord JC, Moissenet D, Dulot C, Dufourcq JB, Marsol P, Garbarg-Chenon A: Investigation of an outbreak of wound infections due to Alcaligenes xylosoxidans transmitted by chlorhexidine in a burns unit. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1998, 17: 724-726. 10.1007/s100960050168View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Spear JB, Fuhrer J, Kirby BD: Achromobacter xylosoxidans (Alcaligenes xylosoxidans subsp. xylosoxidans) bacteremia associated with a well-water source: case report and review of the literature. J Clin Microbiol. 1988, 26: 598-599.PubMed CentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Reverdy ME, Freney J, Fleurette J, Coulet M, Surgot M, Marmet D, Ploton C: Nosocomial colonization and infection by Achromobacter xylosoxidans. J Clin Microbiol. 1984, 19: 140-143.PubMed CentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gomez-Cerezo J, Suarez I, Rios JJ, Pena P, Garcia de Miguel MJ, de Jose M, Monteagudo O, Linares P, Barbado-Cano A, Vazquez JJ: Achromobacter xylosoxidans bacteremia: a 10-year analysis of 54 cases. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2003, 22: 360-363. 10.1007/s10096-003-0925-3View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Weitkamp JH, Tang YW, Haas DW, Midha NK, Crowe JE: Recurrent Achromobacter xylosoxidans bacteremia associated with persistent lymph node infection in a patient with hyper-immunoglobulin M syndrome. Clin Infect Dis. 2000, 31: 1183-1187. 10.1086/317461View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Mandell WF, Garvey GJ, Neu HC: Achromobacter xylosoxidans bacteremia. Rev Infect Dis. 1987, 9: 1001-1005.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Yilmaz et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2006

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.