Virus‐associated hemophagocytic syndrome A benign histiocytic proliferation distinct from malignant histiocytosis

Robert J. Risdall, Robert W. McKenna, Mark E. Nesbit, William Krivit, Henry H. Balfour, Richard L. Simmons, Richard D. Brunning

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998 Scopus citations


Nineteen patients whose bone marrow smears showed histiocytic hyperplasia with prominent hemophagocytosis were found to have a clinicopathologic syndrome associated with active viral infection. High fever, constitutional symptoms, liver function, and coagulation abnormalities and peripheral blood cytopenias were characteristic findings. Hepatosplenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, bilateral pulmonary infiltrates, and skin rash were often present. Fourteen of the patients were immunosuppressed. Active infection by herpes group viruses was documented in 14 patients and by adenovirus in 1. The bone marrow of most patients also showed decreased granulopoiesis and erythropoiesis with normal to increased numbers of megakaryocytes. Treatment generally consisted of supportive therapy and withdrawal of immunosuppressive drugs. Thirteen patients recovered. Lymph node biopsy and autopsy material showed generalized histiocytic hyperplasia with hemophagocytosis. The relationship of this disorder to familial hemophagocytic reticulosis, familial erythrophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, histiocytic medullary reticulosis, and malignant histiocytosis is discussed. Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic therapy may be contraindicated in the treatment of this virus‐associated syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1002
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1979


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