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Case report
Lemierre’s syndrome: a forgotten life-threatening entity
  1. Rita Gama,
  2. Manuel Sousa,
  3. Fernanda Castro and
  4. Artur Condé
  1. Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Department, Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rita Gama; ritarocha{at}


Lemierre’s syndrome is a very rare but potentially fatal condition. It mainly affects adolescents and young adult males, and usually arises as a serious complication of pharyngitis or peritonsillar abscess. It is characterised by the triad of internal jugular vein septic thrombophlebitis, septic emboli (mostly pulmonary) and the isolation of the agent ‘Fusobacterium necrophorum’ in sterile fluids. In this report, it is described a case in which the nonspecific and subtle clinic made the diagnosis difficult to reach. In fact, only the dissociation between flu-like symptoms and the presence of significant changes in the blood tests (suggestive of acute bacterial infection), led to the request for imaging tests, which proved to be essential for the final diagnosis and subsequent control of the disease. This case report aims to increase the awareness among Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) residents, paediatricians and family doctors about the existence of this entity and its potential life-threatening nature.

  • ear
  • nose and throat
  • infections

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  • Contributors RG: manuscript elaboration; literature review; data collection on the clinical case decribed. MS: literature review and revision of the manuscript. FC: revision and correction of the manuscript. AC: revision and final approval of the manuscript for submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

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