Deadly Infections Linked to Prostate Exams: Reports

The findings of several recent studies suggest that prostate exams may carry an increased risk of antibiotic resistant infections, which have sometimes proven to be deadly. 

Doctors are warning that prostate biopsies used to screen for prostate cancer have resulted in a number of cases of infections. In many of the reports, men whose tests came back negative for cancer later died of sepsis infections.

One prostate exam infection report presented last year at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association indicated that nine out of 100,000 men who received needle biopsies died due to the infections. Ten similar studies on hospital-acquired infections from prostate cancer examinations are expected to be presented at the annual meeting in Washington on May 14-19.

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Investigators think that the ultrasound-guided needles used during tissue biopsies in prostate exams are transporting bacteria from the bowel deeper into the body, such as the prostate, bladder or bloodstream. The infections are increasingly caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can cause sepsis.

The ultrasound needles move through the bowels multiple times on their way to the prostate during the 15-minute procedure.

Last year’s study found that 791 men out of 66,811 who underwent transrectal ultrasound prostate (TRUSP) biopsies were later diagnosed with urosepsis. Most had to be hospitalized. Studies increasingly show that the problem is becoming more and more common.

Sepsis occurs when the body overreacts to an infection, causing the immune system to begin damaging the body’s own tissues as well as combating foreign bacteria.

Currently, only about 70% of patients diagnosed with septic shock walk out of U.S. hospitals alive. That is because every hour that treatment is delayed lowers the rate of survival by about 8%, yet many hospitals fail to immediately diagnose sepsis and do not begin providing appropriate treatment for four to six hours.

Symptoms of septic shock are often vague, including:

  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increase heart rate
  • Declining blood pressure
  • Weakness
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6 Comments

  • FrederickMay 1, 2020 at 4:47 am

    I had a biopsy on August 17, 2017 at Dr.Grissom office because my PSA levels went up and my doctor recommended I have a biopsy to check for prostate cancer. After having the biopsy that night my wife called 911 because I had a fever of 105, chills, and was confused and disoriented. Once I arrived at the hospital my fever increased and my wife was told they were admitting me. That night I was diagn[Show More]I had a biopsy on August 17, 2017 at Dr.Grissom office because my PSA levels went up and my doctor recommended I have a biopsy to check for prostate cancer. After having the biopsy that night my wife called 911 because I had a fever of 105, chills, and was confused and disoriented. Once I arrived at the hospital my fever increased and my wife was told they were admitting me. That night I was diagnosed with E. coli bacteria in my bloodstream and throughout my body and UT infection. I stayed in the hospital for 11 days on some very strong antibiotics and almost died. The doctor at the hospital told me it was from the biopsy. Dr Grissom came to my room the next day and told me 2 of the 12 biopsies tested positive for cancer. The next day he came back to my room and said 4 of the 12 biopsies tested positive for cancer. Later I was discharged with an antibiotic I had to take for 30 days after being sent home from the hospital. Up until a few months ago, I thought I was cleared of the infection but another doctor told me the infection was still there when he did my surgery in 2018.

  • KennethNovember 18, 2017 at 4:35 am

    a few years back i got a physical and doctor recommended i get a prostate biopsy because it was enlarged. Two days later i was in intensive care because my kidney was shutting down.(right renal infarct). A team of doctors tried to determine how a blood colt or tissue got to my kidney. I was in intensive care for three days and the hospital for five(Floyd Hospital Rome Ga). The result for me was [Show More]a few years back i got a physical and doctor recommended i get a prostate biopsy because it was enlarged. Two days later i was in intensive care because my kidney was shutting down.(right renal infarct). A team of doctors tried to determine how a blood colt or tissue got to my kidney. I was in intensive care for three days and the hospital for five(Floyd Hospital Rome Ga). The result for me was to have high blood pressure,Diabetes, and loss of most of my right kidney.

  • michaelJune 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I had a prostate biopsy in Sept.2012,the next day my wife took me to Tanner Hosp.emergency room.I WAS Having chills,lower abdominal pain,vomiting and confused. My wife was told that I had E COli and urinary tract infections and I was released on Sept.9th.LATER in the evening I began to have trouble breathing and disoriented.My body was hurting .My wife called 911 and a few minutes after the ambula[Show More]I had a prostate biopsy in Sept.2012,the next day my wife took me to Tanner Hosp.emergency room.I WAS Having chills,lower abdominal pain,vomiting and confused. My wife was told that I had E COli and urinary tract infections and I was released on Sept.9th.LATER in the evening I began to have trouble breathing and disoriented.My body was hurting .My wife called 911 and a few minutes after the ambulance arrived I passed out.I was going into cardiac arrest.I was taken to Cobb hospital Emergency Room and was diagnosed with sepsis and septic shock.my blood pressure was real low so they put a port just below my neck to help raise my blood pressure.I was in the hospital for four days an released ,I had to take antibiotics for 10 days through ports under my arm.TAnner was told that I just had a biopsy.The Dr.that did the bloody worked through Tanner but wasn't on call but on Monday morning,Sept.10th the DR. Called my home and told my son to have me come to Tanner hospital an check myself in,my son told him I was ready in Cobb hospital.My family and I went through needless pain and uncertainties that almost cost me my life.I think God for Cobb hospital Emergency.

  • EarlNovember 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I had an enlarge prostate, the doctors who treated me for the enlarge prostate did surgery on me, causing me to have serious complication with my bladder, urine and bowel. i still have difficult urinating at time. oftern there are times that I have to urinate about ten time a night and there is also been time that it was hard for me to urinate. My doctor did a turp that somehow releived th[Show More]I had an enlarge prostate, the doctors who treated me for the enlarge prostate did surgery on me, causing me to have serious complication with my bladder, urine and bowel. i still have difficult urinating at time. oftern there are times that I have to urinate about ten time a night and there is also been time that it was hard for me to urinate. My doctor did a turp that somehow releived the frequent urinatiing. Now I am having problem with infection and bowel problem. I feel that surgery is unnecessary for people with enlarge prostate problem. sugery only caused more problems down the road for people with enlarge prostate who don't have cancer..Sugery should be your answer to cure.

  • LEONARDDecember 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I had prostate seed implants,2 days later I was in the hospital with e coli infection.I spent 5 days in the hospital.Records say that this infection came from procedure.Do i have any kind of case?

  • MichaelOctober 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Could a hospitalization due to sepsis (ecoli blood infection) resulting from a prostate biopsy result in a possible successful lawsuit against the doctor or hospital doing the biopsy?

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