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Macrophage activation syndrome or septic arthritis: a case of mistaken identity

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We present an interesting case of macrophage activation syndrome in a 2-year-old, with no previous rheumatological diagnoses, incorrectly diagnosed with septic arthritis, to highlight the diagnostic difficulties, especially in small hospital units. We aim to present the similarities between the two conditions and to summarize the clinical, radiological and epidemiological features of macrophage activation syndrome, an underdiagnosed condition. A review of the current literature was performed, and a diagnostic algorithm was created. No current set treatment regimen exists, but current recommendations have been included. We have demonstrated the pitfalls in diagnosis and the importance of immediate treatment in optimizing prognosis.
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Keywords: arthritis; infectious; juvenile; macrophage activation syndrome; pathology; therapeutics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: St Georges Hospital, Tooting, London 2: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, Kent, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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