Endogenous Serratia marcescens panophthalmitis: A case series

Mark P. Breazzano, Gowtham Jonna, Niraj R. Nathan, Hilary H. Nickols, Anita Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: – Two rare and unusual cases of endogenous panophthalmitis from Serratia marcescens are presented with mechanisms for infection explored. Observations – The first patient had history of intravenous drug use (IVDU) without any medical implants. The second patient, in addition to IVDU, had a history of end-stage renal disease with upper extremity arteriovenous fistula graft infection from Serratia marcescens confirmed by wound culture. One patient had a history of licking the needles prior to IV drug injection. Clinical exam in both cases revealed light perception vision, relative afferent pupillary defect, periorbital edema with limited extraocular motility, and hypopyon in the affected eyes. Cultures from the anterior chamber aspirate were positive for Serratia marcescens in the first case and demonstrated Gram-negative rods in the second. Attempted vitreous aspiration was unsuccessful at obtaining specimens. Computed tomography demonstrated orbital fat stranding without abscess, and histopathology showed intense neutrophilic infiltration in all layers of enucleated specimen in case one. Conclusions and Importance: Needle licking may be an underappreciated mechanism for endogenous endophthalmitis in intravenous drug users. This report includes the first case in the literature, to authors’ knowledge, of non-nosocomial endogenous Serratia marcescens panophthalmitis with orbital cellulitis. The second case illustrates a rare consequence of the rise in arteriovenous fistula placement and dialysis across the United States, which may predispose to future cases of endogenous Serratia marcescens endophthalmitis. This series supports previous observations of Serratia marcescens endogenous endophthalmitis exhibiting a generally poor visual prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100531
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Dialysis
  • Endogenous endophthalmitis
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Panophthalmitis
  • Serratia marcescens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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