Severe protein C deficiency in a newborn caused by a homozygous pathogenic variant in the PROC gene: a case report

Uisook Song, Young Hye Ryu, Kiteak Hong, So Yeon Shim, Seongyeol Park, Jeong Seok Lee, Young Seok Ju, Seung Han Shin, Soyoung Lee

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Background: Severe protein C deficiency is a rare and inherited cause of thrombophilia in neonates. Protein C acts as an anticoagulant, and its deficiency results in vascular thrombosis. Herein, we report a case of protein C deficiency with a homozygous pathogenic variant in a term neonate, with good outcomes after proper treatment. Case presentation: A four-day-old male newborn was transferred to the Seoul National University Hospital on account of dark red to black skin lesions. He was born full-term with an average birth weight without perinatal problems. There were no abnormal findings in the prenatal tests, including intrauterine sonography. The first skin lesion was observed on his right toes and rapidly progressed to proximal areas, such as the lower legs, left arm, and buttock. Under the impression of thromboembolism or vasculitis, we performed a coagulopathy workup, which revealed a high D-dimer level of 23.05 μg/ml. A skin biopsy showed fibrin clots in most capillaries, and his protein C activity level was below 10%, from which we diagnosed protein C deficiency. On postnatal day 6, he experienced an apnea event with desaturation and an abnormal right pupillary light reflex. Brain computed tomography showed multifocal patchy intracranial hemorrhage and intraventricular hemorrhage with an old ischemic lesion. Ophthalmic examination revealed bilateral retinal traction detachments with retinal folds. Protein C concentrate replacement therapy was added to previous treatments including steroids, prostaglandin E1, and anticoagulation. After replacement therapy, there were no new skin lesions, and the previous lesions recovered with scarring. Although there were no new brain hemorrhagic infarctions, there was ongoing ischemic tissue loss, which required further rehabilitation. Ophthalmic surgical interventions were performed to treat the bilateral retinal traction detachments with retinal folds. Molecular analysis revealed a homozygous pathogenic variant in the PROC gene. Conclusion: Severe protein C deficiency can manifest as a fatal coagulopathy in any organ. Early diagnosis and proper treatment, including protein C concentrate replacement, may improve outcomes without serious sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number453
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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  • Coagulopathy
  • PROC gene
  • Severe protein C deficiency


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