Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome

Below you will find more information about Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome, WFS for brevity is usually bilateral and massive, hemorrhage into the adrenal glands caused by fulminant meningococcemia (Kumar V, Abbas A, Fausto N (2005). Robins and Coltran: Pathological Basis of Disease, 7th, Elsevier, pp. 1214-5)


Diagnosis includes the Synachten test inorder to demonstrate the acute suprarenal failure of the person affected with the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome.


Treatment includes routine vaccination against menigococcus for individuals who had their spleen removed or who have sickle-cell anemia which damage the spleen or to those individual who have certain immune disorders such as complement deficiency (Rosa D, Pasqualotto A, de Quadros M, Prezzi S (2004). "Deficiency of the eighth component of complement associated with recurrent meningococcal meningitis--case report and literature review". Braz J Infect Dis 8 (4): 328-30).

Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms includes onset fever,rigors, vomiting and headache followed by rash, first in the macular which may petechial and purpuric with dusky color. Cyanosis of extremities may also manifest. Thus it is manifest through the overwhelming bacterial infectio, rapidly progressive hypotension which leads to shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation or DIC which is accompanied by widespread purpura most especially in the skin and rapidely developing adrenocortical insufficiency linked to massive bilateral adrenal hemorrhage. Acidosis and acute renal failure can often be seen in cases of severe sepsis.


Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is usually caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae infections and usually a common bacterial pathogen which are usually linked with meningitis in the adult and elderly population..

Discuss Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome in our forums

Discuss Waterhouse-Friderichsen Syndrome with other members of Medigest in our forums.