Lemierre's syndrome: A systematic review

Department of Otolaryngology, Liverpool University Hospitals, United Kingdom.
The Laryngoscope (Impact Factor: 2.03). 08/2009; 119(8):1552-9. DOI: 10.1002/lary.20542
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lemierre's syndrome is characterized by a history of recent oropharyngeal infection, clinical or radiological evidence of internal jugular vein thrombosis, and isolation of anaerobic pathogens, mainly Fusobacterium necrophorum. It was once called the forgotten disease because of its rarity, but it may not be that uncommon after all. This review aims to provide physicians with an update on the etiology, management, and prognosis of Lemierre's syndrome.
Systematic review using the terms: Lemierre's syndrome, postanginal septicemia, fusobacterium, internal jugular vein thrombosis. Inclusion criteria: English literature; reviews, case reports, and case series. Exclusion criteria: variants or atypical Lemierre's syndrome cases, negative fusobacteria cultures, and papers without radiological evidence of thrombophlebitis.
Eighty-four studies fulfilled our inclusion criteria. The male to female ratio was 1:1, 2, and the ages ranged from 2 months to 78 years (median, 22 years). Main sources of infection were tonsil, pharynx, and chest. Most common first clinical presentation was a sore throat, followed by a neck mass and neck pain. The most common offending micro-organism was F. necrophorum. Treatment modalities used were antimicrobial, anticoagulant, and surgical treatment. Morbidity was significant with prolonged hospitalization in the majority of patients. The overall mortality rate was 5%.
Lemierre's syndrome may not be as rare as previously thought. This apparent increase in the incidence may be due to antibiotic resistance or changes in antibiotic prescription patterns. Successful management rests on the awareness of the condition, a high index of suspicion, and a multidisciplinary team approach.

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    ABSTRACT: Lemierre's syndrome is a rare complication following an acute oropharyngeal infection. The aetiological agent is typically anaerobic bacteria of the genus Fusobacterium. The syndrome is characterised by a primary oropharyngeal infection followed by metastatic spread and suppurative thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein. If left untreated, Lemierre's syndrome carries a mortality rate of over 90%. Whilst relatively common in the preantibiotic era, the number of cases of Lemierre's syndrome subsequently declined with the introduction of antibiotics. With the increase of antibiotic resistance and a greater reluctance to prescribe antibiotics for minor conditions such as tonsillitis, there are now concerns developing about the reemergence of the condition. This increasing prevalence in the face of an unfamiliarity of clinicians with the classical features of this "forgotten disease" may result in the misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis of this potentially fatal illness. This case report illustrates the delay in diagnosis of probable Lemierre's syndrome in a 17-year-old female, its diagnosis, and successful treatment which included the use of anticoagulation therapy. Whilst there was a positive outcome, the case highlights the need for a suspicion of this rare condition when presented with distinctive signs and symptoms.
    01/2015; 2015:797415. DOI:10.1155/2015/797415
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    ABSTRACT: Lemierre syndrome is a rare complication of acute tonsillitis. It is caused by the anaerobic bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum and is characterized by bacteremia and septic thrombosis of the internal jugular vein. Dissemination of septic emboli may occur. The diagnosis can be difficult since different organs can be involved. We discuss a case of Lemierre syndrome in a 35-year-old woman with isolated thrombophlebitis of the facial vein and fusobacteria growth in blood culture. This case emphasizes the need for awareness of the condition.
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