Altook, Reyna; Ruzieh, Mohammed; Singh, Avneet; Alamoudi, Wael; Moussa, Zeinab; Alim, Hussam; Safi, Fadi; Duggan, Joan
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare disease of massive, dysregulated cytokine release and secondary multiorgan failure and is associated with high mortality. Primary HLH occurs predominately in infants and young children with a genetic predisposition. Acquired HLH is less well characterized and usually occurs in younger adults in the setting of severe inflammation triggered by infection or malignancy. Little is known about the disease in elderly. We report 3 patients >50 years old who presented with multiorgan failure and shock without an identifiable source and were ultimately diagnosed with acquired HLH. We performed a literature review of HLH in adults >50 years of age and identified an additional 68 cases. Mean age was 62 years, with male predominance. Most cases were triggered by infection (49%) followed by malignancy (27%). Nineteen patients were treated with the HLH-94 protocol, 11 received corticosteroids and the remainder received non-HLH specific interventions. Overall mortality was 62%.