Background diagnostic dilemma in toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is that the results of microbiologic investigations are often not available immediately because of the need for incubation, or no obvious entry point can be found. Methods We describe three patients with a clinical diagnosis of TSS in whom microbiologic tests were negative. Results All patients had complicated courses with vasopressor-dependent shock, renal and respiratory failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulation for at least 1 week. In all three patients, diagnosis was considerably faster with the assessment of the expansion of T-cell-receptor V beta 2-positive T cells (> 15%) than by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) diagnosis, because of the complicated clinical picture or the delay caused by waiting for the results of microbiologic investigations. Conclusions Our results indicate that diagnostic procedures incorporating V beta 2-positive T cells could be a useful tool for the diagnosis of TSS.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/blood*