Lemierre syndrome complicating otitis externa: Case report and literature review

Lisa M. Hile, Mark D. Gibbons, David C. Hile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Septic thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein, known as Lemierre syndrome, is a rare disorder usually caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum, a Gram-negative anaerobic organism that normally inhabits the oropharynx. Lemierre syndrome usually follows primary oropharyngeal infections and affects previously healthy adolescents and young adults in a characteristic manner, often with fatal results if left untreated. There have been a significantly increasing number of reported cases of Lemierre syndrome, possibly reflecting the trend to withhold antibiotics for initially uncomplicated oropharyngeal infections. Objectives: We hope to alert the reader to a potentially fatal disease process that has recently been increasingly identified, by reporting a unique manifestation of Lemierre syndrome, and by reviewing the current literature. Case Report: A 19-year-old woman presented to our Emergency Department with a chief complaint of fever, ear pain, and generalized weakness. She was noted to be in septic shock, with left neck erythema and swelling. A computed tomography scan showed thrombosis of the left internal jugular vein (IJV), which was later excised. She recovered after a course of intravenous and oral antibiotics. Conclusion: Septic thrombophlebitis of the IJV is associated with multiple sources and organisms. This case is unique in both the organism (Peptococcus anaerobius) and the source (otitis externa). This disease process must be identified early and aggressively treated to avoid significant morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e77-e80
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Lemierre
  • Peptococcus anaerobius
  • otitis externa
  • septic thrombophlebitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Lemierre syndrome complicating otitis externa: Case report and literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this