Disseminated bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG): a cause of delirium in an older adult

Bladder Cancer
23/06/2020

Headlam J, et al. J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2020.

ABSTRACT

Intra-vesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy is an effective treatment for high-risk bladder cancer. Less well known is that fewer than 1% of patients receiving BCG treatment can develop disseminated BCG. The reaction can range from a mild flu-like illness to a systemic disorder with a fulminant course which in the most severe cases can lead to death. The diagnostic yield is low and diagnosis is often made after a comprehensive exclusion of more common causes of pyrexia of unknown


origin. A high level of suspicion is therefore required in those who may be at risk. We report a case of disseminated BCG in an older patient for whom early involvement of his family was pertinent to determining the precipitant for delirium.