Rheumatology International

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 1421–1429 | Cite as

Macrophage activation syndrome in children with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

  • Selin Aytaç
  • Ezgi Deniz Batu
  • Şule Ünal
  • Yelda Bilginer
  • Mualla Çetin
  • Murat Tuncer
  • Fatma Gümrük
  • Seza ÖzenEmail author
Observational Research


Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a hyper-inflammatory disorder secondary to a rheumatic disease such as systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We aimed to present the characteristics of our pediatric MAS patients. Clinical features, laboratory parameters, treatment, and outcome of 34 patients (28 SJIA; six SLE; 37 MAS episodes) followed at a tertiary health center between 2009 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. The median age at MAS onset was 11 years. More SJIA patients had MAS at disease onset than SLE patients (53.6 vs. 16.7 %). Fever, high C-reactive protein and hyperferritinemia were present in all MAS episodes. Rash was less (p = 0.03), and fatigue was more frequent (p = 0.042) in SLE than SJIA patients. All received corticosteroids. Cyclosporine was given in 74.2 % of SJIA-MAS; 66.7 % of SLE-MAS episodes. Intravenous immunoglobulin, anakinra, or etoposide was administered during 67.7; 41.9; 32.3 % of SJIA-MAS and 33.3; 33.3; 50 % of SLE-MAS episodes, respectively. Plasmapheresis was performed during 41.9 % of SJIA-MAS and 33.3 % of SLE-MAS episodes. The mortality rate was 11.8 % (n = 4;3 SJIA, 1 SLE). Hepatosplenomegaly was more frequent (p = 0.005), and plasmapheresis was performed more frequently (p = 0.021) in the patients who died compared to the cured patients. The median duration between symptom onset and admission to our hospital was longer among the patients who died (16.5 vs. 7 days; p = 0.049). Our patients’ characteristics were similar to the reported cases, but our mortality rate is slightly higher probably due to late referral to our center. Early diagnosis and effective treatment are crucial to prevent mortality.


Macrophage activation syndrome Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis Systemic lupus erythematosus Child 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the ethics committee of Hacettepe University and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki (1964). All these patient files were evaluated retrospectively, and all patients were anonymous. When the patients admitted to the hospital, the parents gave a general consent approving anonymous data use for academic purpose.

Supplementary material

296_2016_3545_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
296_2016_3545_MOESM2_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 14 kb)
296_2016_3545_MOESM3_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Selin Aytaç
    • 1
  • Ezgi Deniz Batu
    • 2
  • Şule Ünal
    • 1
  • Yelda Bilginer
    • 2
  • Mualla Çetin
    • 1
  • Murat Tuncer
    • 1
  • Fatma Gümrük
    • 1
  • Seza Özen
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of PediatricsHacettepe University Faculty of MedicineAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Division of Rheumatology, Department of PediatricsHacettepe University Faculty of MedicineAnkaraTurkey

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