Toxic Shock Syndrome
Gadi Fishman, Dov Ophir
ENT and Head Neck Surgery Dept., Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, life-threatening, acute multisystem illness usually characterized by sudden onset of high fever, diffuse sunburn-like erythroderma and a variety of other signs and symptoms. It may progress rapidly to hypotension and shock with multiple organ failure. Its exact cause is unknown, but in almost all cases there has been an infection with exotoxin-producing strains of phage group I Staphylococcus aureus. Although initially described in association with the use of super-absorbent tampons in menstruation, TSS has complicated a variety of surgical procedures. Recently in head and neck surgery attention has focused on absorbent packing materials, such as those used in postoperative nasal care.
TSS developed in a 12-year-old 28 hours after tonsillectomy, nasal septoplasty and inferior turbinectomy in which absorbent packing material was used. It is important to maintain a high index of suspicion for TSS in all postoperative patients with fever, hypotension and erythroderma.