Lemierre's Syndrome

Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2000 Apr;2(2):168-173. doi: 10.1007/s11908-000-0030-z.


Lemierre's syndrome is characterized by an oropharyngeal infection followed by internal jugular vein septic thrombophlebitis and metastatic emboli, most often to the lungs and joints. The syndrome is most commonly associated with the anaerobic gram-negative rod Fusobacterium necrophorum. Diagnosis is established with evidence of metastatic infection and internal jugular vein thrombophlebitis. CT is considered the diagnostic procedure of choice. Treatment should include an extended course of a beta-lactamase-resistant antibiotic and surgical drainage of any purulent fluid collection. Anticoagulation remains controversial, and ligation of the internal jugular vein is reserved for patients with persistent sepsis and recurrent emboli. With appropriate therapy, mortality is 4% to 12%; but mortality is increased when therapy is delayed.