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Revista Cubana de Pediatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7531versão On-line ISSN 1561-3119


CARDENAS BRUNO, Mercedes  e  MORENO MIRAVALLES, Myrna. Postmortem diagnosis of a case with secondary hemophagocytic syndrome. Rev Cubana Pediatr [online]. 2019, vol.91, n.1, e490. ISSN 0034-7531.


The hemophagocytic syndrome, also called hemophagocyticlymphohistiocytosis or macrophage activation´s syndrome is a serious disease characterized by exaggerated activation of the immune system and increased cytotoxic lymphocytic and macrophage activity, which can be potentially fatal.


To describe a case with this rare syndrome with a high mortality rate, and the diagnosis was made postmortem in our hospital.

Case presentation:

A 10-month-old patient, born by natural delivery, with normal weight, with a history of admission at 2 months due to sepsis, with increased transaminases levels and cervical adenopathies. A cervical lymph node biopsy was performed, and granulomatous adenitis was diagnosed. On this occasion, four days before admission, he presented fever and weakness; physical examination revealed low intercostals retraction, superficial polypnea, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly. The complementary tests showed anemia, transaminases, albumin and total proteins with high levels; urine had bile pigments and positive ketone bodies; platelets 100 x 109. Gastroenterology specialists set out cholestasis of the infant. The patient died and at necropsy there were evidences of hepato splenomegaly, yellowish liver, mesenteric and peripancreatic adenopathies, hemorrhagic lungs with increased consistency. In the microscopic study, histiocytes with hemophagocytosis were found in liver, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes.


The hemophagocytic syndrome is a rare disease that often goes unnoticed. It has serious prognostic implications for the patient with a fatal outcome.

Palavras-chave : hemophagocytic syndrome; hemophagocytosis; adenopathy.

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