Although adrenal hemorrhage is well known to occur in approximately 3% to 4% of persons infected with Neisseria meningitidis,1 it is not so well appreciated that the lesion may occur with infection due to other organisms.2,3 Adrenal hemorrhage, itself, was formerly considered the cause of circulatory collapse and death in fulminant meningococcemia, and replacement therapy with adrenal cortical steroids was advocated on this basis.4,5 Treatment of acute meningococcemia with corticotropin and steroids, however, has recently been questioned, since adrenal insufficiency has never been demonstrated in such patients and their various thrombotic lesions, including adrenal hemorrhage, may be due to the generalized Shwartzman phenomenon, which is known to be potentiated by adrenal steroids.6-8 The present report is an investigation of the pathogenesis of adrenal hemorrhage associated with infections due to bacteria other than N. meningitidis.
Material and Observations
The necropsy reports of patients dying at the Cincinnati
MARGARETTEN W, NAKAI H, LANDING BH. Septicemic Adrenal Hemorrhage. Am J Dis Child. 1963;105(4):346-351. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080040348004