Macrophage Activation Syndrome Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Nov 21, 2018
  • Author: Angelo Ravelli, MD; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Because macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a serious condition that can follow a rapidly fatal course, prompt recognition of its clinical and laboratory features and immediate therapeutic intervention are critical. However, because it lacks a single distinguishing characteristic and is clinically heterogeneous, early diagnosis can be difficult. Differential diagnosis between macrophage activation syndrome and a lupus flare or between macrophage activation syndrome and infections [30] , such as leishmaniasis may be particularly challenging.

Differential Diagnoses

  • Flare of underlying disease (eg, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis [SJIA], systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE])

  • Infection (eg, visceral leishmaniasis, brucellosis)

  • Sepsis

  • Side effects of medications