Pedal manifestations of meningococcal septicemia

JG Welchon Department of Orthopaedics, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, USA.

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DG Armstrong Department of Orthopaedics, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, USA.

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LB Harkless Department of Orthopaedics, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, USA.

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While there have been several reports of upper and lower extremity amputations secondary to meningitis and purpura fulminans in the literature, the incidence is probably rare. Delmas et al studied five pediatric subjects with gangrene caused by meningococcemia, with four requiring amputation. Weiner reported that all 12 patients in his review received a lower extremity amputation, with several requiring upper extremity amputation. Joint contracture, while not as commonly discussed as amputation, is nonetheless an important and perhaps more common finding. Urbaniak et al indicated that of six patients reviewed, three developed significant joint contractures. With the exception of the gangrenous changes discussed, it was joint contracture that was the most limiting factor in progression to full activity and weightbearing in the authors' subject. Prompt, aggressive physical therapy is tantamount to effecting an acceptable long-term outcome.

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