Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Infection with Mycobacterium abscessus: A Rare Cause of Ventriculitis

Z. D. Levy
V. Du
A. Chiluwal
D. J. Chalif
D. E. Ledoux


BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium abscessus is a rapidly growing atypical mycobacterium implicated in chronic lung disease, otitis media, surgical site infections, and disseminated cutaneous diseases. It is typically seen in patients with some degree of immunosuppression. Only 1 previous case has been reported in the setting of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt infection. We report a case of M abscessus as the causative organism in a VP shunt infection in an immunocompetent adult. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 67-year-old woman required VP shunt placement after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage complicated by hydrocephalus. Her course was complicated by repeat hospitalization for 2 shunt infections, the second of which did not respond to standard antibiotic therapy. Cultures repeatedly grew M abscessus. The patient continued to decline and eventually died after transfer to the palliative care service. CONCLUSIONS: Nontuberculous mycobacteria are rare, atypical organisms in the setting of VP shunt infection. Patients with ventriculitis secondary to atypical mycobacteria may exhibit drug-resistant cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis in the face of standard antibiotic regimens.