Background: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare multiorgan disease of toxic immune activation caused by the interaction of cytotoxic T cells and innate immune cells and frequently involves the central nervous system (CNS). Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) might develop during treatment with the HLH-2004 protocol from the Histiocyte Society. The aims of this study were to evaluate clinical outcomes and putative risk factors for prediction of PRES related to HLH. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of 28 patients with HLH who were treated between April 2005 and April 2012. We compared various clinical and laboratory parameters in patients without or with PRES to evaluate putative risk factors related to development of PRES. Results: Six (21.4%) of the patients experienced PRES during treatment with the HLH-2004 protocol. Clinical and laboratory manifestations were not different compared with other conditions causing PRES. The main mechanism of PRES may be related to the HLH-2004 protocol and a high pro-inflammatory state. Most patients recovered quickly from neurologic manifestations without significant long-term sequelae. Preceding hypertension, an increase in ferritin level >50% compared with 1 week before development of PRES and hyponatremia were statistically significant factors. Conclusion: PRES is clinically reversible and has a favorable outcome in patients with HLH. Awareness of PRES and a differential diagnosis of other causes of neurologic complications, including CNS involvement of HLH, can help avoid unnecessary treatment or delayed management. Patients with preceding hypertension, hyponatremia, and rising ferritin levels during HLH treatment should be closely monitored for PRES.
- Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis
- Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome
- Risk factors