Secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: a rare case report


  • Venkataraman Balamurugan Department of Pathology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Bharathi Vidhya Jayanthi Department of Pathology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Cytopenia, Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, HLH, Splenomegaly, Unexplained fever


Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a clinicopathologic syndrome, characterised by hyperinflammation due to inherited or acquired defects in the immune function, leading to unchecked proliferation of histiocytes and lymphocytes resulting in multiorgan dysfunction. HLH can be primary (familial) occurring in young children caused by underlying genetic defects in natural killer cells/cytotoxic T cells or secondary HLH occurring in older children or adults following infections, rheumatological disorders or malignancies.  HLH is a medical emergency, having varied clinical presentations and lacks a pathognomonic clinical or laboratory abnormality. Clinical presentations include unexplained fever, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, skin rash, cytopenias, liver dysfunction, coagulation abnormality and neurological manifestations. It carries a poor prognosis. Early diagnosis based on HLH 2004 criteria and initiation of treatment is crucial in the management strategy, which is likely to improve the outcome of this life-threatening disease. The treatment strategies include immunosuppressive drugs, immunomodulatory therapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant in selected cases. Here with authors report a case of young adult, presenting with fever, thrombocytopenia, splenomegaly, and multi organ dysfunction, diagnosed as a case of secondary HLH based on the HLH 2004 guidelines.


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How to Cite

Balamurugan, V., & Jayanthi, B. V. (2019). Secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: a rare case report. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 7(5), 1963–1967.



Case Reports