Lemierre syndrome: A complication of acute pharyngitis

Andrea Williams, Mark Nagy, Jennifer Wingate, Luna Bailey, Mark Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Lemierre syndrome, otherwise known as postanginal sepsis or necrobacillosis, is an illness that originates as an acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis which progresses to sepsis, usually fusobacterial, due to suppurative thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein. Septic thromboemboli then seed various organs, resulting in multiple organ system pathology, most commonly affecting pulmonary and hepatic systems and joints. Although rare in the age of antibiotics, this disease typically affects previously healthy adolescents with varied clinical manifestations depending upon organ system involvement (A. Lemierre, Lancet March (1936) 701-703; J. Barker, H.T. Winer-Muram, S. Grey, Southern Med. J. 89 (1996) 1021-1023). Prompt diagnosis based on clinical presentation, radiologic findings, particularly CT scanning with contrast and a high index of suspicion, is necessary in order to institute often life saving therapy (J. Barker, H.T. Winer-Muram, S. Grey, Southern Med. J. 89 (1996) 1021-1023). We will present two cases of Lemierre syndrome, review it's clinical presentation, anatomic considerations, particularly it's relationship to the parapharyngeal space, radiographic findings, potential life threatening complications and finally, a unique approach to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 15 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute pharyngitis
  • Lemierre syndrome
  • Multiple organ system pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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