Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is adrenal gland failure due to bleeding into the adrenal gland. It is caused by severe meningococcal infection or other severe, bacterial infection.
Symptoms include acute adrenal gland insufficiency and profound shock. It is deadly if not treated immediately.
Fernández-Frackelton M. Bacteria. In: Marx, JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2006: chap 127.
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.