Coordinated Health



Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome is failure of the adrenal gland due to bleeding into the gland.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

This condition is caused by severe infection with meningococcus bacteria or other severe infection from bacteria, such as:

  • Group B streptococcus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • S. pneumoniae
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Rarely, Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome can be caused by the use of medications that promote blood clotting. Other causes include:

  • Low platelet counts
  • Primary antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Renal vein thrombosis
  • Steroid use


Complications include:

  • Acute adrenal gland insufficiency
  • Shock

It is deadly if not treated right away.