Lemierre's syndrome is an uncommon complication of pharyngitis in the United States and caused most commonly by the bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum. The syndrome is characterized by a history of recent pharyngitis followed by ipsilateral internal jugular vein thrombosis and metastatic pulmonary abscesses and is a disease for which patients will seek medical care and advice. As most patients are admitted to the hospital under internal medicine, practitioners should be familiar with the usual signs and symptoms of Lemierre's syndrome along with its diagnosis and treatment. Controversy involves the choice and duration of antimicrobial therapy used for treatment and anticoagulation therapy for internal jugular vein thrombosis. As the diagnosis and management of this syndrome has generated controversy, an updated review of the literature and treatment recommendations may be helpful for providing optimal care for patients with this often unrecognized and confusing infection.
"Lemierre classified this syndrome as “anaerobic postanginal sepsis” because of the onset of sepsis occurring shortly after the patients had experienced a sore throat. It was not until the 1980s that anaerobic postanginal sepsis was routinely referred to as Lemierre’s syndrome . With the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s and their widespread use for streptococcal pharyngitis, the incidence of Lemierre’s syndrome fell dramatically. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lemierre's syndrome is a condition characterized by thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein and bacteremia caused by primarily anaerobic organisms, following a recent oropharyngeal infection. This has been an uncommon illness in the era of antibiotic therapy, though it has been reported with increasing frequency in the past 15 years. Lemierre's syndrome should be suspected in young healthy patients with prolonged symptoms of pharyngitis followed by symptoms of septicemia or pneumonia, or an atypical lateral neck pain. Diagnosis is often confirmed by identification of thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein and growth of anaerobic bacteria on blood culture. Treatment involves prolonged antibiotic therapy occasionally combined with anticoagulation. We review the literature and a case of a child with Lemierre's syndrome.
International Journal of Emergency Medicine 10/2013; 6(1):40. DOI:10.1186/1865-1380-6-40
"Routine systemic anticoagulation for jugular vein thrombosis may promote early resolution of thrombophlebitis and bacteremia, preventing spread of disease [8, 9]. Some physicians recommend anticoagulation in cases complicated by cerebral infarcts, complete thrombosis of the jugular vein, or thrombosis extending into the cavernous sinus [1, 2, 10]. The optimal duration of treatment is unknown and should be evaluated from case to case depending on the extent of the thrombus and the location . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lemierre's syndrome is an uncommon complication of pharyngitis commonly associated with an anaerobic gram negative bacterium, Fusobacterium necrophorum. The syndrome usually affects young healthy adults with the mean age of 20 and is characterized by recent pharyngitis followed by ipsilateral internal jugular vein thrombosis and septic thromboembolism. The treatment is at least 6 weeks of antibiotics; the role of anticoagulation is unclear. The following presentation is a case of Lemierre's syndrome in a 23-year-old healthy individual who is infected by a rare species: Fusobacterium nucleatum. The case is complicated by septic emboli to the lungs and impressive seeding vegetation to the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) at the pulmonic valve of the heart.
"Surgical drainage of abscess and IJV ligation may be indicated for patients who fail to respond to antibiotics, as was done in the preantibiotic era, though the ligature is not frequently done now [4, 8]. Routine use of anticoagulation is controversial as there are no randomized trials, and sepsis-related thrombocytopenia is often seen in these cases [14, 16]. Anticoagulation should strongly be considered, if there is clot propagation involving the cavernous sinus or if there are septic emboli [4, 5, 7]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lemierre's syndrome (LS) is a rare, but a life-threatening complication of an oropharyngeal infection. Combinations of fever, pharyngitis, dysphagia, odynophagia, or oropharyngeal swelling are common presenting symptoms. Infection of the lateral pharyngeal space may result in thrombosis of the internal jugular vein, subsequent metastatic complications (e.g., lung abscesses, septic arthritis), and significant morbidity and mortality. LS is usually caused by the gram-negative anaerobic bacillus Fusobacterium necrophorum, hence also known as necrobacillosis. We present a case of LS caused by Streptococcus intermedius, likely secondary to gingival scraping, in which the presenting complaint was neck pain. The oropharyngeal examination was normal and an initial CT of the neck was done without contrast, which likely resulted in a diagnostic delay. This syndrome can be easily missed in early phases. However, given the potential severity of LS, early recognition and expedient appropriate antimicrobial treatment are critical. S. intermedius is an unusual cause of LS, with only 2 previous cases being reported in the literature. Therefore, an awareness of the myriad presentations of this syndrome, which in turn will lead to appropriate and timely diagnostic studies, will result in improved outcome for LS.
Case Reports in Medicine 11/2012; 2012:624065. DOI:10.1155/2012/624065
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