Visceral leishmaniasis, hypertriglyceridemia and secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

Antonio Cascio, Paola Di Carlo, Claudia Colomba, Francesco Scarlata, Giuseppina Barberi, Valeria Cama, Fausto Famà, Chiara Iaria

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a protozoan disease, is 100 % fatal if left untreated. Anemia is common in VL which plays a role in expression of clinically overt VL disease. Laboratory clues are scarce for strengthening clinical suspicion for severity in VL. Hypertriglyceridemia has emerged as a new concept for the diagnosis and prognosis in VL. The present study is aimed at correlating the magnitude of hypertriglyceridemia with the severity in VL. Materials and methods: A retrospective case–control study was conducted between January 2012 to December 2013 among 124 patients coming for treatment from VL endemic areas, who had fever of more than 15 days and did not respond to antimalarials and antibiotics. The parasitologically confirmed VL cases (n = 87) were categorized as mild/moderate (n = 60) and severe (n = 27) groups according to WHO classification for anemia and parasite burden. Serum triglycerides were assayed in VL groups along with controls (n = 37). Results: Serum triglyceride level was significantly higher in VL than controls [mean values were 173.50 ± 47.67 versus 127.1 ± 53.79 mg/dl, respectively (p < 0.0001)]. Triglyceride level was significantly higher in severe than in mild/moderate group of VL [211.3 ± 50.2 mg/dl versus 134 ± 45.09 mg/dl, respectively (p < 0.0001)]. Hypertriglyceridemia (>161.7 mg/dl) was noted in all severe VL patients, compared to 31.66 % of mild or moderate group (p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference between mild/moderate VL and controls. Conclusions: It is hypothesized that hypertriglyceridemia could be of additional diagnostic benefit to assess the probability and severity of VL in endemic areas. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-392
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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