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Transpl Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;14(4):422-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2012.00746.x. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Graft-versus-host disease or toxic epidermal necrolysis: diagnostic dilemma after liver transplantation.

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1
Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Pediatric Surgery, University of Saarland, Homburg-Saar, Germany.

Abstract

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are rare and severe complications after liver transplantation. While mild acute GvHD is quite different from TEN and easy to distinguish, severe acute GvHD and TEN can be hard to differentiate because of similar clinical symptoms. We herein report a case with rapid progression of critical illness, after liver transplantation, caused by GvHD or TEN, although between those, diagnosis was not possible during the clinical course. Although, based on the timing/progression of the symptoms and the chimerism of >40%, the case seemed much more clinically consistent with GVHD, the combination of clinical symptoms together with skin rashes and the histologic appearance of skin lesions indicated diagnosis of a Stevens-Johnson syndrome/TEN overlap. The true diagnostic dilemma in such cases is discussed in detail, as these cases emphasize the need for more advanced diagnostic techniques.

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