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Eur J Pediatr. 2001 Dec;160(12):718-25.

Reviewing Omenn syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Omenn syndrome is a form of severe combined immunodeficiency associated with high mortality. Early recognition is required in order to initiate life-saving therapy. This review provides information on the clinical symptoms, laboratory parameters and pathology of the disease, supporting early diagnosis in suspected patients. A literature search was performed using Medline, encompassing the period 1965-1999. Sixty-seven cases were identified and with the addition of a recently diagnosed patient at our hospital, 68 children were included. Median age at onset of symptoms was 4 weeks. Key symptoms were erythematous rash (98%), hepatosplenomegaly (88%), lymphadenopathy (80%), often accompanied by recurrent infections (72%) and alopecia (57%). An elevated WBC (55%) was frequently observed, due to eosinophilia and/or lymphocytosis. B-cell counts were significantly decreased whereas T-cell counts were elevated. A high serum IgE was another frequent finding (91%). Therapeutic options include bone marrow transplantation or cord blood stem cell transplantation; however, the mortality still was 46%.


Omenn syndrome is a fatal disease if untreated. The mortality may be reduced when diagnosis is established early and treatment is initiated rapidly by using early compatible bone marrow transplantation or cord blood stem cell transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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