Context: Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis or the “Hemophagocytic Syndrome” is a spectrum of disorders of regulatory immunomodulatory pathways inciting phagocytosis of hematopoietic cells resulting in end-organ damage. The condition appears in both heritable and non-heritable forms from a multitude of possible environmental triggers, most notably infection. The condition often results in a fatal outcome without prompt diagnosis and treatment. Cases in children have been reported much more frequently and classically than in adult patients.
Case Report: In this case series we examined fi ve such cases in adult patients that were found at our institution in a window as small at 2 years with more cases having presented since the time of this writing. In these cases, likely triggers were found ranging from infectious, drug-inducing and even underlying malignancy. The condition can be diagnosed by a set of laboratory and physical criteria (Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis -2004). Treatment ranges from immunosuppressive agents to chemotherapeutic approaches with variable success.
Conclusion: Clinicians must maintain a higher index of suspicion in cases presenting with ominous symptomatology to ensure a prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of this potentially deadly condition.
Thomas D, Shah N, Patel H, Pandya T, Gauchan D, Maroules M. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: A series of five clinical cases in adult patients at a single institution with a review of the literature. North Am J Med Sci 2015;7:415-20.