BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-220110
  • Rare disease

Lemierre’s syndrome; a rare cause of septic arthritis

  1. Benjamin Bolland2
  1. 1Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Bath, UK
  2. 2Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr James B Olivier, jamesolivier2{at}
  • Accepted 28 April 2017
  • Published 12 May 2017


Lemierre’s syndrome is a rare condition characterised by pharyngitis leading to septic thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein. Complications include pulmonary septic emboli, septic arthritis and disseminated intravascular coagulation. The authors present a case of a healthy woman aged 25 years with septic arthritis of the shoulder due to this unusual cause. This diagnosis was made via a combination of clinical, radiological and microbiological findings. It was successfully treated via surgical and antimicrobial interventions. The patient made a good recovery with minimal associated morbidity or loss of function. This case highlights the importance for awareness and high index of suspicion for rarer causes of septic arthritis in young healthy adults as early appropriate intervention maximises prognosis.


  • Contributors JBO created initial manuscript. KA-H and BB revised manuscript, made adjustments and additions.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article