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Hong Kong Med J. 2003 Oct;9(5):363-8.

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura as a rare complication in childhood systemic lupus erythematosus: case report and literature review.

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Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tsing Chung Koon Road, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, ROC.


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is a rare but serious condition in childhood. It can be idiopathic or a complication of other diseases or drug therapy. We report on a 12-year-old Chinese girl who presented with fulminant systemic lupus erythematosus with progressive renal failure, pancytopenia, and cerebral dysfunction due to thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. The patient also had Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, Pseudomonas septicaemia, and Herpes zoster infections as a result of immunosuppressive treatment. She responded to combined therapy with pulse methylprednisolone, cyclophosphamide, plasmapheresis, and intensive care support, and completely recovered renal and neurological function. A review of the English-language medical literature since 1968 identified 20 other paediatric cases of systemic lupus erythematosus and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Clinical features, treatment, and outcome of these cases are presented and discussed. Early recognition is important, and although plasmapheresis is not of proven benefit in severe cases of systemic lupus erythematosus, it is life-saving in lupus-related thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and must be instituted early to avoid a poor outcome.

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