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Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome

Definition

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is failure of the adrenal gland due to bleeding into the gland.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

This condition is caused by severe infection with meningococcus bacteria or other severe infection from bacteria, such as:

  • Group B streptococcus

Rarely, Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome can be caused by the use of medications that promote blood clotting. Other causes include:

Signs and tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Complications

Complications include:

It is deadly if not treated right away.

Calling your health care provider

Prevention

References

Meurer WJ, Lavoie FW. Central nervous system infections. In: Marx JA, Hockberger Rs, Walls RM, et al, eds. . 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 107.

Maitra A. The endocrine system. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. . 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 24.

White PC. Adrenocortical insufficiency. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. . 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 569.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.