Learn About Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome

What is the definition of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome (WFS) is a group of symptoms caused when the adrenal glands fail to function normally. This occurs as a result of bleeding into the glands.

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What are the alternative names for Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

Fulminant meningococcemia - Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome; Fulminant meningococcal sepsis - Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome; Hemorrhagic adrenalitis

What are the causes of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

The adrenal glands are two triangle-shaped glands. One gland is located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce and release different hormones that the body needs to function normally. The adrenal glands can be affected by many diseases, such as infections like WFS.

WFS is caused by severe infection with meningococcus bacteria or other bacteria such as:

  • Group B streptococcus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Staphylococcus aureus
What are the symptoms of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

Symptoms occur suddenly. They are due to the bacteria growing in number inside the body. Symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

Infection with bacteria causes bleeding throughout the body, which causes:

  • A rash throughout the body
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation in which small blood clots cut off blood supply to the organs
  • Septic shock

Bleeding into the adrenal glands causes not enough adrenal hormones to be produced. This is called adrenal crisis, and it leads to symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness, weakness
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Very fast heart rate
  • Confusion or coma
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What are the current treatments for Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

Antibiotics are started right away to treat the bacterial infection. Glucocorticoid medicines will also be given to treat adrenal gland insufficiency. Supportive treatments will be needed for other symptoms.

Who are the top Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome Local Doctors?
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Service De Rhumatologie

La Roche, FR 85000

Celine Cozic is in La Roche, France. Cozic is rated as an Advanced expert by MediFind in the treatment of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome. She is also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome, Small Patella Syndrome, Gorham's Disease, and Hypovolemic Shock.

Advanced
Highly rated in
1
conditions

University Of Palermo

Messina, IT 98125

Elvira Spagnolo-Ventura is in Messina, Italy. Spagnolo-Ventura is rated as an Advanced expert by MediFind in the treatment of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome. She is also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome, Proteus-Like Syndrome, Proteus Syndrome, and Mediastinitis.

 
 
 
 
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Highly rated in
5
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University Of Genova

Lavagna, IT 16033

Francesco Ventura is in Lavagna, Italy. Ventura is rated as an Advanced expert by MediFind in the treatment of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Mallory-Weiss Syndrome, and Giant Congenital Nevus.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

WFS is fatal unless treatment for the bacterial infection is started right away and glucocorticoid drugs are given.

What are the possible complications of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

How do I prevent Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

To prevent WFS caused by meningococcal bacteria, a vaccine is available.

Meningococcal lesions on the back
Adrenal gland hormone secretion
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What are the Latest Advances for Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome?

There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.

Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: September 01, 2021
Published By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Stephens DS. Neisseria meningitides. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 211.

Newell-Price JDC, Auchus RJ. The adrenal cortex. In: Melmed S, Auchus RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 15.