Lemierre Syndrome: A Retrospective Study of the Role of Anticoagulation and Thrombosis Outcomes

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Lemierre syndrome (LS) is a multisystemic infection beginning in the oropharynx and leading to thrombosis of the internal jugular vein (IJV) with septic emboli and potential thrombotic extension to the central nervous system. Although patient outcomes have improved with early initiation of antimicrobial therapies, there is no consensus regarding the role of anticoagulation in LS. To better define the role of anticoagulation therapy in LS and determine whether anticoagulation improves thrombosis outcomes, we conducted a retrospective chart review of pediatric and adult patients diagnosed with LS and managed at our institution from January 1998 to December 2014. Eighteen patients (9 females and 9 males) were included in this analysis, 6 of whom received ≥4 weeks of anticoagulation therapy (median 23.1 weeks, range 6.9-32.9 weeks). Six patients were in the pediatric age group (<18 years). All patients received broad-spectrum antibiotics. All patients had improvement in their thrombi by 3 months (nonanticoagulated patient group: complete response [CR], n = 9; partial response [PR], n = 3; anticoagulated patient group: CR, n = 2; PR, n = 4). No patient developed recurrent thrombosis or progression during the follow-up period, regardless of anticoagulation status. Our study suggests that anticoagulation in LS may not affect thrombosis outcomes.

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