Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is characterised by adrenal insufficiency that results from atraumatic adrenal haemorrhage in consequence of septicaemia. 

Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is due to septicaemia and common infective agents include 5:

  • meningococcus: traditionally described cause
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Escherichia coli
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

Imaging features are often that of non-traumatic adrenal haemorrhage. The correct clinical context is vital in image interpretation.

It is named after Rupert Waterhouse, English physician (1873-1958), and Carl Friderichsen, Danish paediatrician (1886-1979) 2.

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Article information

rID: 12670
System: Urogenital
Section: Syndromes
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome (WFS)
  • Friderichsen-Waterhouse syndrome
  • Friderichsen's syndrome

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