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Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome Workup

  • Author: Alexandra C Cheerva, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Hassan M Yaish, MD  more...
 
Updated: May 24, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

Any infant with unexplained thrombocytopenia, with or without evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), should be evaluated for visceral or hidden vascular lesions (especially of the spleen). Without prompt and appropriate attention, these forms of Kasabach-Merritt syndrome (KMS) are associated with a high mortality. Patients should also be evaluated for malignancy because malignant lesions may resemble the lesions seen in patients with KMS.

Clinicians must monitor blood work, with special emphasis on the platelet count. Additional tests are ordered as necessary for clinical evaluation. For example, blood cultures may be appropriate for excluding the possibility of sepsis, and chromosome tests may be needed to exclude certain genetic syndromes.

Diagnostic imaging is obtained as appropriate. No procedures are required initially. If a complete excision is not feasible, a biopsy should not be performed, because it may lead to uncontrolled bleeding at the site.

Although formal staging is not usually performed, documenting the extent of the invasion of the vascular lesion into normal tissue is important for possible subsequent treatment with surgery or radiation. Metastasis does not occur.

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Laboratory Studies

A complete blood count (CBC) count with differential, reticulocyte count, platelet count, and peripheral smear is obtained to evaluate for microangiopathic hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia in KMS. Platelets may be larger than normal when they are released early from the bone marrow. Burr cells and schistocytes may be present in patients with microangiopathic hemolytic anemia.

The prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) are prolonged in patients with significant DIC.

Fibrinogen levels are low in patients with significant DIC. levels of fibrin degradation products (FDPs) and D-dimer are elevated in patients with DIC. A D-dimer test is usually more sensitive than a test for FDPs. Low-grade chronic DIC may be present.

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Radiography, CT, MRI, and Ultrasonography

Radiography, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of areas involved with known vascular lesions should be performed as appropriate. These studies are advisable even when all vascular lesions are cutaneous. Scans are important to determine the extent of the visible vascular lesions and to evaluate the patient for possible visceral vascular lesions.

MRI or CT commonly reveals a vascular enhancing mass that is difficult to differentiate from a vascular malformation, solid tumor, or proliferative vascular lesion. If KMS is suspected in patients who have no visible vascular lesions, CT scans or MRIs of the head, chest, abdomen, and pelvis should be obtained to identify any visceral lesions.

Doppler flow studies may help differentiate a solid mass from a vascular lesion.

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Radionuclide Scanning

Radionuclide imaging may be indicated. Scans that use chromium isotope 51, indium In 111 oxine–labeled platelets, or iodine I 131–labeled fibrinogen probably are more sensitive than CT scans or MRIs for delineating the size and number of vascular lesions.[14] Radionuclide scans are infrequently used because the diagnosis is usually made clinically. In certain centers, they may not be readily available. Scintigraphic studies should be strongly considered when the etiology of the thrombocytopenia remains uncertain.

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Histologic Findings

Enjolras et al characterized the histology of kaposiform hemangioendothelioma (KHE) and tufted angioma (TA), the vascular lesions associated with KMS.[6] The original case report described lobules of fine capillaries separated by cellular intercapillary tissue consisting of spindle-shaped cells.

The histologic picture of KHE consists of lobules or sheets of tightly packed spindle cells or rounded endothelial cells and pericytes. The cellular areas have an infiltrative pattern in the dermis, subcutaneous fat, and muscles and generally contain few obvious vascular lumina. TAs are composed of small tufts or lobules of rounded capillaries with small lumina. The tufts are discrete and evenly distributed in a cannonball pattern and are characterized by peripheral, crescentic, slitlike vessels and an associated fibrosis.

Both KHE and TA contain aggregates of rounded, dilated capillaries lined by attenuated endothelial cells with small, dark nuclei and filled with RBCs. Microthrombi and hemosiderin deposits are often present. Lymphlike vessels are often part of the lesion. Findings of both KHE and TA often appear in the same patient; the 2 conditions may be variations of each another.

The histology of classic hemangioma of infancy, which is the most common benign vascular neoplasm in children, is distinct from these proliferations and is not associated with KMS.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Alexandra C Cheerva, MD, MS Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine; Director of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Kosair Children's Hospital

Alexandra C Cheerva, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Children's Oncology Group, American Society of Clinical Oncology, International Pediatric Transplant Association, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Kentucky Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Ashok B Raj, MD Professor, Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Kosair Children's Hospital, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Ashok B Raj, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Kentucky Medical Association, Children's Oncology Group

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Salvatore Bertolone, MD Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Kosair Children's Hospital; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Salvatore Bertolone, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Cancer Education, American Association of Blood Banks, American Cancer Society, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Kentucky Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Hassan M Yaish, MD Medical Director, Intermountain Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Treatment Center; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Director of Hematology, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Department of Pediatrics, Primary Children's Medical Center

Hassan M Yaish, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, New York Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Michigan State Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Emmanuel C Besa, MD Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Emmanuel C Besa, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Education, American College of Clinical Pharmacology, American Federation for Medical Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, and New York Academy of Sciences

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gary D Crouch, MD Associate Professor, Program Director of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship, Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Gary D Crouch, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics and American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. Guy B Faguet, MD Former Professor, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Georgia

Guy B Faguet, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Immunologists, American Society of Hematology, International Society of Hematology, New York Academy of Sciences, Southern Medical Association, and Southern Society for Clinical Investigation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Linda K Hendricks, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Hematology and Oncology, Mercer University School of Medicine

Linda K Hendricks, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hematology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gary R Jones, MD Associate Medical Director, Clinical Development, Berlex Laboratories

Gary R Jones, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, and Western Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Michael Paul Kosty, MD Associate Director, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of Supportive Care Services and Hematology and Oncology, Ida M and Cecil H Green Cancer Center, Scripps Clinic

Michael Paul Kosty, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, and Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Bernice R Krafchik, MBChB, FRCPC Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Dermatology, University of Toronto

Bernice R Krafchik, MBChB, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Dermatological Association, Canadian Medical Association, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sejal Kuthiala, MD Staff Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical College of Georgia

Sejal Kuthiala, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Ronald A Sacher, MB, BCh, MD, FRCPC Professor, Internal Medicine and Pathology, Director, Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center

Ronald A Sacher, MB, BCh, MD, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Blood Banks, American Clinical and Climatological Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Hematology, College of American Pathologists, International Society of Blood Transfusion, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Glaxo Smith Kline Honoraria Speaking and teaching; Talecris Honoraria Board membership

Carlos Suarez, MD Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Leg with a Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma, lesion associated with Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome.
Back of an arm showing the typical bruising associated with Kasabach-Merritt Syndrome.
 
 
 
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