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Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome

What is Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome?

Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome (SCLS) is an exceedingly rare, life- and limb-threatening disorder characterized by acute and severe recurrent attacks featuring a rapid fall in blood pressure due to the temporary leak of plasma out of the blood circulatory system.

This virtual community is dedicated to the memory of Judith (Judy) Lynne Davis (1958-2009) (judithdavis3), one of its founding members and a victim of a very severe episode of SCLS that took her life in November 2009.

We also mourn the death of seven other SCLS patient members of this community: Mario Gatto (mariogatto) from Naples, Italy, who passed away in December 2009; Denise Weston (mdweston) from Ohio, USA, who died in March 2011; Bruno Galien (bruno) from Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, who passed on in February 2012; Guy Allen Overland (allenoverland) from the Washington DC area, USA, who died in January 2015; Marilyn Meaux (maire602) from Louisiana, USA, who passed away in March 2017; Julie Eady (jodono) from Perth, Australia, who died in September 2017; and Cara O'Hagan (Cara) from Dublin, Ireland, who passed on in February 2018.

 

Synonyms

  • Clarkson or Clarkson's Disease

Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome (SCLS) is an exceedingly rare, life- and limb-threatening disorder characterized by acute and severe recurrent attacks featuring a rapid fall in blood pressure due to the temporary leak of plasma out of the blood circulatory system.

This virtual community is dedicated to the memory of Judith (Judy) Lynne Davis (1958-2009) (judithdavis3), one of its founding members and a victim of a very severe episode of SCLS that took her life in November 2009.

We also mourn the death of seven other SCLS patient members of this community: Mario Gatto (mariogatto) from Naples, Italy, who passed away in December 2009; Denise Weston (mdweston) from Ohio, USA, who died in March 2011; Bruno Galien (bruno) from Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, who passed on in February 2012; Guy Allen Overland (allenoverland) from the Washington DC area, USA, who died in January 2015; Marilyn Meaux (maire602) from Louisiana, USA, who passed away in March 2017; Julie Eady (jodono) from Perth, Australia, who died in September 2017; and Cara O'Hagan (Cara) from Dublin, Ireland, who passed on in February 2018.

Acknowledgement of Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome has not been added yet.

Less than one in 1 million people are affected by this disease.

Name Abbreviation
Clarkson or Clarkson's Disease Clarkson

Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome (SCLS) is idiopathic, and thus at present there are no known causes. Probably a mid-life gene mutation takes place that renders those affected vulnerable -- possibly immune-deficient in some way -- to these curiously self-reversing capillary leaks.

Many patients report having a runny nose, flu-like symptoms, gastro-intestinal disorders, a general weakness or pain in their limbs, swelling in the face or hands and feet, or very cold hands and feet, but others get no particular or consistent warning signs.

Name Description
Swelling swelling
Myalgia Myalgia is muscle pain
Rhinorrhea Rhinorrhea is a runny nose
Dizziness Dizziness
Lightheadedness Lightheadedness
Hypotension Hypotension is abnormally low blood pressure
Hemoconcentration Hemoconcentration is the decrease of the fluid content of the blood, with increased concentration of formed elements
Hypoalbuminemia Hypoalbuminemia is low levels of protein in the blood
Nausea Nausea
Excessive thirst Excessive thirst
Generalized edema Generalized edema
Decline in clinical picture Clinical picture declines rapidly within hours
Cold limbs and sweating Cold limbs and sweating
Rapid swelling and compartment syndrome Rapid swelling of all limbs with development of compartment syndrome, especially during IV fluid administration
Decreased urine output Decreased urine output
Vomiting Vomiting
Intestinal cramps Cramps
Diarrhea Diarrhea
Fatigue Fatigue
Headache Headache

The diagnosis of SCLS is made partly by exclusion, namely, by eliminating the possibility of other more common diseases, and is based on measurable, clinical symptoms such as hypotension, hemoconcentration, hypoalbuminemia, and the presence of a protein called Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance (MGUS).

Diagnostic tests of Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome has not been added yet
  • Methylprednisolone 125 mg IV STAT, repeated as needed.
  • Judicious use of IVF boluses and drips to keep CVP above zero.
  • Phenylephrine or Norepinephrine for hypotension, early institution.
  • 50 ml of 25% albumin, repeated as needed.
  • Continuous CVP monitoring, stat and serial lab work including CPK and lactate.
  • Immediate Orthopedics consult and compartment pressure measurement; early, preventive limb fasciotomies if compartment pressures or CPK high. 
  • Venous Doppler for DVT, may need full anticoagulation.

Treatment of a fully developed SCLS episode requires recognition that there are two phases. The first phase, which often lasts a couple of days, is called the resuscitation phase because the dual aim of ER/ICU treatment is to stop or control the capillary leak and to raise the patient's blood pressure from near zero. In this initial phase, an albumin and fluid leak from the capillaries into the tissue spaces causes swelling, especially into the extremities rather than the abdomen or organs (such as the lungs). The blood pressure falls and the red cells concentrate. This loss of fluid has similar effects on the circulation as dehydration, slowing both the flow of oxygen carrying blood to tissues and the output of urine.

Glucocorticoids (steroids like methylprednisolone) are recommended to reduce or stop the capillary leak, and albumin and colloids usually help to increase the remaining blood flow to vital organs like the kidneys. Keeping up with the fluid loss is important because sustained low blood pressure can damage vital organs such as the kidneys. Even though blood pressure readings may reach and remain at very low levels, it is important to avoid overly aggressive intravenous fluid administration causing massive swelling of the extremities.

The goal of saline and vasopressors administered should NOT be to restore a "normal" blood pressure (or urine flow), but to maintain it at a minimal level sufficient to avoid permanent damage to vital organs. Measurement of central venous or arterial pressure in an ICU setting is often necessary to achieve this delicate balance. When too much fluid is administered, the result is excessive swelling, and the patient may well require surgical decompression of the limbs. In this procedure, known as a fasciotomy, the skin of the arms and/or legs is incised to release the compressive pressure the retained fluid is having on blood flow to and from the extremities.

The second phase of the treatment is known as the recruitment phase, when fluids and albumin are reabsorbed from the tissues during at least a couple of days. In this phase, the capillary leak has ended and the main threat is fluid overload. If intravenous fluids were given in excess, they usually cause an accumulation of fluid in the lungs and around other vital organs. Most of the patient deaths happen during this recruitment phase so it is important that diuretics be administered to help patients discharge all the fluid previously given -- and to keep them from backing up, especially into the lungs.

As concerns episode prevention, two approaches have been tried: β-agonists like theophylline and terbutaline, and a prophylaxis with IVIG infusions. In recent years, more and more patients have been migrated from the former to the latter in Canada, Europe, the United States and beyond, because IVIG therapy leads to superior results -- no episodes or fewer and lighter episodes than compared to no therapy or the other therapies -- and does not have as many adverse side effects as does treatment with β-agonists like theophylline and terbutaline.

The prognosis is uncertain and depends on (a) how well episodes are managed, in terms of preventing permanent damage to vital organs and extremities; and (b) the ability to prevent episodes altogether.

There are two main treatments to prevent episodes of SCLS. The oldest is the Mayo Clinic’s approach of a preventive therapy with theophylline (or aminophylline) and terbutaline tablets taken on a daily basis. However, these medications, meant to reduce endothelial hyperpermeability, have very unpleasant side effects, and often prove ineffective, providing partial and transient improvement.

The newest is the French preventive regimen, which involves monthly infusions of immunoglobulins (IVIG). There is growing evidence that IVIG (usually, 2 gr/kg per month, administered over two consecutive days) has worked for many patients in Europe for over 10 years now, and is proving extremely successful among patients who have tried it in North America and beyond in the past several years, thus having become the standard of care.

Name Description
Medical help

Find yourself a compassionate physician, preferably a specialist in internal medicine or hematology affiliated with a major university hospital, willing to do his/her homework on this rare disorder (namely, read the literature and follow the instructions), and willing to consult with the few SCLS experts available:

In the United States,
Dr. Mark S. Pecker,
Professor of Clinical Medicine;
Weill Cornell Medical College,
New York, NY,
tel. 646-962-2605,
email mpecker@med.cornell.edu ;

in Europe:
Prof. Zahir Amoura,
Département de Médecine Interne,
Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Bd. de l'Hôpital 83, Paris 13e,
tél. 0033 1 42 17 80 81,
email : zahir.amoura@aphp.fr

Clinical Study Volunteer
Patients who have been diagnosed as having SCLS and who are at least 16 years old are wanted for participation in the only scientific study of the illness taking place anywhere in the world: at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, right outside Washington DC. You must have a documented medical history including at least one acute episode of SCLS or else continuous symptoms of periodic hemoconcentration, hypotension and protein leakage. Have your primary doctor contact Ms. Linda Scott at LMScott@niaid.nih.gov, before sending in the requisite letter of referral with your medical history and laboratory studies to the lead clinical investigator, Dr. Kirk Druey, kdruey@niaid.nih.gov, tel. 301-435-8875. Once accepted into the clinical research study, you will be invited to come to NIH and spend about 4 days there for the purpose of being examined, donating blood, and being subjected to various tests (e.g., clinical digital photography of your blood vessels). Depending on circumstances, you probably will have time off to do sightseeing in the capital area during your stay at NIH. Those who wish to be greeted in person during their stay by this community's founder, please contact aporzeca@american.edu

 

Please see the Disorder Resources section.

Kids with Scls Created by Leila.melton
Last updated 19 Nov 2018, 03:23 AM

Posted by leilasmom31
19 Nov 2018, 03:23 AM

Hi. This is Leilas Mom . I am reaching out for Leila . She would love to connect with any of the children who have Scls and are around her age . They could email  maybe or be penpals or messenger each other ? She needs a kid who understands what it’s like have a chronic illness . 

Thank you ,

Kristy 

Posted by Boleyn Hammer
3 Nov 2017, 09:24 PM

Hi,Leila. Have you been diagnosed as having SCLS (Clarkson's Syndrome)?  If so could you give us a little idea as to what happened to you? 

Posted by Leila.melton
3 Nov 2017, 05:31 PM

Hi my name is Leila, and I am 11 years old, almost 12 . I'm writing this because I think if will help me not feel alone and have friends that know what I go through. I live in the USA in Maryland. I have danced ballet and jazz and I am currently in hip-hop. I am also going to Join horseback riding and I love drawing. I am vegetarian and trying to go completely vegan. 

New member from Peterborough, Ontario Created by mberry
Last updated 18 Nov 2018, 04:59 PM

Posted by mberry
18 Nov 2018, 04:59 PM

Thank you, Arturo. I appreciate your help. 

Posted by aporzeca
18 Nov 2018, 02:55 PM

Welcome to our Community!  We have two members who are from Ontario, so you may want to look them up and contact them directly for advice: lisamcoleman and Mike1949. However, my recommendation is that you ask the physician who knows you best to pull together your medical records and history and send them to Dr. Kirk M. Druey at NIH, kdruey@nih.gov, tel. 1301-435-8875, requesting a consultation on your case.  He is the world's leading authority on SCLS.  There are many strange swelling disorders out there, and we regularly receive inquiries of your nature, and so does Dr. Druey.  He can also get answers for you from his many excellent colleagues throughout the National Institutes of Health.  Good luck and let us know how you fare!

Arturo

 

Posted by mberry
18 Nov 2018, 01:12 PM

Hello again. Is there anyone who knows of a doctor who can diagnose me from Southern Ontario? Dr. Druey is from the U.S. I have MGUS and think I have SCLS (chronic form) -- if anyone knows of a doctor who can diagnose me from Ontario that would be wonderful -- or if anyone could tell me what exactly my doctor could test, that would be good too. I just need it to be confirmed so I can try to get IVIG. Thank you.

View Full Thread (1 more posts)
Genetic Research on SCLS Patients Created by aporzeca
Last updated 5 Nov 2018, 01:57 PM

Posted by Lolaudesi
5 Nov 2018, 01:57 PM

Muchas gracias Arturo por informar!

Posted by rnuara
5 Nov 2018, 01:24 PM

Arturo,

Thank you for the update.  I was happy to help Dr. Druey and his team as a participant in the genetic testing for SCLS.  Always willing to participate in these studies to help us find out whatever medical insights can be uncovered.

Posted by aporzeca
4 Nov 2018, 09:09 PM

We know that SCLS is not hereditary, or else it would be far more common than it is -- an estimated one in one-million inhabitants, none of whom are related, as far as can be determined. However, many conditions have genetic roots or a genetic component which is not necessarily passed on from generation to generation. 

I wanted to call everyone's attention to the fact that, during the past couple of years, Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH has been conducting genetic research on SCLS patients, both adults and children, and he has been publishing his preliminary results.  His latest article, which appeared last month (October 2018), "Whole Exome Sequencing of Adult and Pediatric Cohorts of the Rare Vascular Disorder Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome," has been added to the Disorder Resources section of this website. 

Asked to provide a nontechnical summary of his findings, Dr. Druey commented as follows: "We sequenced part of the genome (the exons, which encode proteins) of adult and pediatric SCLS patients. Basically, the takeaway is that we were unable to find gene mutations that were shared by most or all of the patients that could account for the disease. However, it is important to note that these preliminary results by no means exclude the possibility that there is a genetic component to SCLS.  Therefore, we are continuing to study the possible genetic contribution to SCLS in complementary ways.  Stay tuned!"

SCLS in(en) Wikipedia Spanish(Español) Created by aporzeca
Last updated 28 Oct 2018, 08:33 PM

Posted by aporzeca
27 Oct 2018, 09:36 PM

I am pleased to announce that as of today the Spanish edition of Wikipedia has the same comprehensive entry on SCLS that the English edition features, see https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%ADndrome_de_fuga_capilar and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_leak_syndrome

We are grateful to RareShare member-volunteers Lolaudesi, who is a physician and caregiver in Argentina, for translating the English version into Spanish, and to markc, a patient and computer/publishing whiz from New York City, for doing the requisite Wikipedia formating work involved.

If anybody else would like to volunteer to translate the SCLS entry into other languages and versions of Wikipedia, please contact me directly.

Tengo el placer de anunciar que a partir de hoy la edición en español de Wikipedia tiene el mismo artículo a fondo sobre SCLS que aparece en la edición idioma inglés, ver https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%ADndrome_de_fuga_capilar y https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_leak_syndrome

Estamos agradecidos a los miembros-voluntarios de RareShare Lolaudesi, una doctora y cuidadora de un paciente en Argentina, por traducir la versión en inglés al castellano, y a markc, un paciente y experto en computadoras y publicaciones de la ciudad de Nueva York, por haber llevado a cabo las labores necesarias de formatear siguiendo el estilo de Wikipedia.

Si alguna otra persona quisiera ofrecerse para traducir el artículo sobre SCLS a otros idiomas y versiones de Wikipedia, favor contactarme directamente.

Arturo

Message to Irishlady - flu shot Created by KristineZuccarello
Last updated 23 Oct 2018, 03:35 AM

Relationship between triggers and infusion IVIG. Created by Arielbatt
Last updated 20 Oct 2018, 08:14 PM

Posted by Arielbatt
20 Oct 2018, 12:55 PM

I add that I read that krogers is for years with 0.5. Maybe he can help her find out.

Posted by Arielbatt
20 Oct 2018, 12:23 AM

Hello Nhan, ... I think you do not know of cases that the disease is exceeded, ... for the moment it is considered chronic and incurable. I think of you often ... and I still think that IVIG saves our lives. I would try to find out (I believe in France) by the success that they have or not, those who handle smaller doses, how 1gr. per Kg. or up to 0.5 gr. by Kg. I think they have a good prognosis, but study the subject.

Posted by gandcburns
19 Oct 2018, 01:23 PM

Hello all,

I infuse 65grams, broken up into two doses, a month. Early on in my treatment I did have some minor leaks. My calves would swell, but it would not progress any further. I have not had even a minor leak for 2 years now, I am still on the 65g dose. I travel about 3x a year, and I am a fitness instructor/personal trainer. I teach 12 classes a week and do not have any episodes due to vigorous activity or air travel. I have not gotten any upper respiratory viruses since beginning IVIgg. I do get a sore throat every now and again, but it dissapears within a day. Every winter I worry about having an attack, because of the illnesses that I am exposed to working at a fitness facility. I do not get a flu shot, because I had swelling episodes 2 years in row immediately following the shot. My family does get the flu shot though.  Finally I have recently implemented eating the Whole30 way. I was having leaky gut syndrome and ulcerative colitis. I did not know if this was due to SCLS but I wanted to fix the issue without having to take more medication.  I found out that I have a reaction ( stomach issues, not swelling) to dairy, I feel better when I do not eat legumes, and keep gluten to a minimum. I have much more energy watching what I eat. I too am grateful to hear about everybody's experiences and learn what works and does not work with our disease. 

 

View Full Thread (13 more posts)
Anyone taking Cellcept?? Created by Shannoncourt
Last updated 20 Oct 2018, 09:26 AM

Posted by Shannoncourt
20 Oct 2018, 09:26 AM

Lisa.... I have not been tolerating the steroids  prior to infusion of ivig and I believe he thinking this might help. ( I see a kidney doctor for my ivig they are big in transplants in their group so that being a common drug to them may or may not be right for me).

Nwbsaw....I have multiple episodes a year.  Thank you for your response. 

 

Shannon

Posted by nwbsaw
19 Oct 2018, 04:30 PM

Hi, 

Nolan has been on Cellcept since 2012 because of his kidney transplant. He has had no leaking episodes since he was started on IVIG.

Posted by L
19 Oct 2018, 11:53 AM

Hello,

I was just curious as to why Cellcept would be considered. I am on IVIG only but would like to know as well if anyone else is on Cellcept.

Lisa

View Full Thread (1 more posts)
Celebrating our 10th Anniversary, Part 4 Created by aporzeca
Last updated 19 Oct 2018, 05:07 PM

Posted by nwbsaw
19 Oct 2018, 05:07 PM

Thank you so much for you work.

Posted by Boleyn Hammer
9 Oct 2018, 06:51 PM

Wow,Arturo. Great work.As you rightly say,the FDA approving this would be of global benefit. Thank you so much for your ongoing hard work. Brilliant. 

Posted by Arielbatt
25 Jul 2018, 01:03 AM

Dear Arturo, how much work you do not imagine and how good you take the time to tell it. Thanks for your efforts, I will not reach what I lack of life to thank. My life would not be the same without his work. I feel indebted to you.

View Full Thread (1 more posts)
Celebrating our 10th Anniversary, Part 1 Created by aporzeca
Last updated 9 Oct 2018, 07:07 PM

Posted by Boleyn Hammer
9 Oct 2018, 07:07 PM

I can genuinely say that this support community has been of such help to me,to the point of supplying my doctors with the information required to proceed with Ivig (provided by Arturo). I discovered it at a particularly low point in my recuperation, when everything seemed so hopeless. You have most probably helped save my life. Thank you so much. 

Posted by josee
27 Aug 2018, 05:27 PM

Bonjour Arturo.

 

Vraiment très intéressant de connaitre cette histoire.

Je célèbre aussi !!!!  Cela fait maintant 10 ans que je recois des ivig et je vais tellement bien. 

Je ne partage pas beaucoup sur ce site mais sachez que je pense a vous !!!!

Merci Arturo pour tout ce que vous faites.

Traduction:

Hello Arturo.

Really very interesting to know this story.

I'm celebrating too !!!! It's been 10 years that I get ivig and I'm doing so well.

I do not share much on this site but know that I think of you!

Thank you Arturo for everything you do.

Josée

Posted by davec
9 Jul 2018, 06:16 PM

This site has been a Godsend for those of us who wonder what we have and whether there is any medical solution to help us. Dr. Kirk Druey and Arturo helped me and my doctors figure out a plan that would stabilize my health. And it worked. I am grateful to them but also to those who have joined our site and offered advice to help me and many others through this health crisis. David

View Full Thread (2 more posts)
SCLS and systemic candidiasis Created by Lily13
Last updated 9 Oct 2018, 03:11 PM

Posted by Lily13
9 Oct 2018, 03:11 PM

Thanks ! 
I sent you an email, and to Claude too!  wink

I am so scared ! 

 

Posted by aporzeca
9 Oct 2018, 01:46 PM

Stéphanie,

Welcome to our Community!  As to your question, I have never heard of a reported biochemical or even statistical relationship between SCLS and systemic candidiasis. Systemic candidiasis is the most common fungal infection among hospitalized people in high-income countries, so you probably picked it up in the ICU while you were sick with an episode of SCLS or some other illness that weakened your immune system.  For more information, see https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/1076/systemic-candidiasis 

I wish you a full recovery from the candidiasis, and in the meantime, if you are not already, you should get yourself immediately on a preventive therapy of monthly immunoglobulins for your SCLS, because the combination of both diseases could certainly kill you any day!  I see that you live in Geneva; perhaps you should discuss your situation further with a retired physician and SCLS patient from our community who lives very close to you in Sion, see claude53.  You can email him directly. 

Posted by Lily13
8 Oct 2018, 08:32 PM

Hi, 

First I apologize for my English! 

I have a Clarkson syndrome evolving since several years. At first, the symptomatology was chronic, but gradually, crisis became more and more severe (since October 2017). 
I am a nurse, and the swelling really complicated my practice, both in physical and intellectual requirements. I am in leave sick since April 2018. 
In February 2017, although I didn’t had any risk factor, my blood test showed a systemic candidiasis. Since then, I took fluconazole for several months but the candidiasis is still evolving and very difficult to keep under control. 
I noticed that the days before a SCLS crisis, in addition to sinusitis or flu syndrome, I am very tired, my body temperature goes down to 32 or 33°C, I am achy, need sugar, and in the same time the elimination begins to decrease ! ( I have the notion that Candida albicans needs sugar to survive and grow ?!)
In my case, the consumption of sugars seems to play a role with the occurrence of oedematous crisis.
I have been taking Fluconazole for several months and as soon as I stop it (or eat something too sweet), gradually oliguria starts again (and others symptoms follow). A serology was performed again this month. Candidiasis is still evolving despite of the Fluconazole.

I read a lot about the SCLS but I never found any publication reporting tests between SCLS and systemic candidiasis. However, Candidiasis could lead to an hypovolemia shock.
So do you think it could be a link between these two disorders ? (Candida albicans by itself, or a protein that it would produce etc)

I am so curious and would love to get your opinion on this subject !

Best regards, 

Stéphanie

 

 

Community Podcasts
Title Description Date Link
Hospitals, Doctors, Medical Teams: Navigating Barriers of Rare Diseases (Patient Navigation)

Arturo Porzecanski, a rare disease patient and advocate, gives us some tips on navigating decisions involved in choosing hospitals, doctors, and medical teams.
Featuring Arturo Porzecanski (American University). (Music credit:www.bensound.com)

08/17/2018
Community External News Link
Title Date Link
Community Resources
Title Description Date Link
Whole Exome Sequencing of SCLS Patients

Whole Exome Sequencing of Adult and Pediatric Cohorts of the Rare Vascular Disorder Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome

Abstract: The extent to which genetic abnormalities contribute to SCLS is unknown. The authors identified pediatric and adult cohorts with characteristic clinical courses and sought to identify a possible genetic contribution to SCLS through the application of Whole Exome Sequencing (WES). On the basis of 9 adult and 8 pediatric SCLS patients and available unaffected first-degree relatives, they did not identify a uniform germline exomic genetic etiology for SCLS. However, WES did identify several candidate genes for future research.

11/04/2018
Idiopathic SCLS (Clarkson syndrome) in childhood

Idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome (Clarkson syndrome) in childhood: systematic literature review

Abstract: The authors performed a systematic review of the literature on Clarkson syndrome in subjects less than 18 years of age, and identified 24 reports, published since 1989, providing data on 32 otherwise healthy subjects, who experienced 67 well-documented episodes of SCLS. The condition affected more frequently girls (21, 66%) than boys, presented throughout childhood, and was preceded by a mostly viral illness in 75% of cases. The presence of a monoclonal gammopathy (MGUS) was never reported. Uncompensated circulatory shock, muscle compartment syndrome, acute kidney injury, pulmonary edema, and either pleural or pericardial effusion were, in decreasing order of frequency, the most common complications. Four patients died. In sum, SCLS develops not only in adulthood but also in childhood, but of potential significance is that in this age group the condition is not linked to an MGUS, and thus it could be that it does not play a pivotal pathogenic role.

11/04/2018
Clinical Presentation, Management, and Prognostic Factors of SCLS

Clinical Presentation, Management, and Prognostic Factors of Idiopathic Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome: A Systematic Review

Abstract: A total of 133 case reports (161 patients) and 5 case series (102 patients) of idiopathic SCLS were included in a survey of articles published through end-2016. The findings include that patients had hypotension (81.4%), edema (64.6%), and previous flu-like illness (34.2%). They were often misdiagnosed as having hypovolemic shock, septic shock, polycythemia vera, or angioedema. Thirty-seven patients died (23%) mainly because of complications from SCLS (78.4%). There were significant differences in the survival rates between patients who were treated with prophylactic b2 agonists, methylxanthines, and intravenous immunoglobulins and those who were not. The estimated 1-, 5-, and 10-year survival rate of patients treated with intravenous immunoglobulins was 100%, 94%, and 94%, respectively. The results of this review suggest that prophylactic use of intravenous immunoglobulins is the most effective treatment in reducing the mortality rate of SCLS patients.

11/04/2018
The Clinical Picture of Severe SCLS Episodes Requiring ICU Admission

The Clinical Picture of Severe SCLS Episodes Requiring ICU Admission

Abstract: SCLS is a very rare cause of recurrent hypovolemic shock. Few data are available on its clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, and outcomes of those patients requiring ICU admission.  This study was undertaken to describe the clinical pictures and ICU management of severe SCLS episodes.  This multicenter retrospective analysis concerned patients entered in the European Clarkson's disease (EurêClark) Registry and admitted to ICUs between May 1992 and February 2016.  Fifty-nine attacks occurring in 37 patients (male-to-female sex ratio, 1.05; mean ± SD age, 51 ± 11.4 yr) were included.  Among 34 patients (91.9%) with monoclonal immunoglobulin G gammopathy, 20 (58.8%) had kappa light chains.  ICU-admission hemoglobin and proteinemia were respectively median (interquartile range) 20.2 g/dL (17.9-22 g/dL) and 50 g/L (36.5-58.5 g/L).  IVIG was infused during 15 episodes (25.4%).  A compartment syndrome developed during 12 episodes (20.3%).  Eleven (18.6%) in-ICU deaths occurred. Bivariable analyses (the 37 patients' last episodes) retained Sequential Organ-Failure Assessment score greater than 10 (odds ratio, 12.9 [95% CI, 1.2-140]; p = 0.04) and cumulated fluid-therapy volume greater than 10.7 L (odds ratio, 16.8 [1.6-180]; p = 0.02) as independent predictors of hospital mortality.  In conclusion, high-volume fluid therapy was independently associated with poorer outcomes.  IVIG use was not associated with improved survival; hence, its use in an ICU setting should be considered prudently and needs further evaluation in future studies.

07/05/2017
Intravenous Immunoglobulins Improve Survival in Monoclonal Gammopathy-Associated SCLS

Intravenous Immunoglobulins Improve Survival in Monoclonal Gammopathy-Associated SCLS

Abstract: We conducted a cohort analysis of all patients included in the European Clarkson disease registry between January 1997 and March 2016. From diagnosis to last follow-up, studied outcomes (e.g., the frequency and severity of attacks, death, and evolution toward multiple myeloma) and the type of preventive treatments administered were monitored every 6 months. Sixty-nine patients (M/F sex ratio 1:1; mean ± SD age at disease onset 52 ± 12 years) were included in the study. All patients had monoclonal gammopathy of immunoglobulin G type, with kappa light chains in 47 (68%).Twenty-four patients (35%) died after 3.3 (0.9-8) years. Fifty-seven (86%) patients received at least one preventive treatment, including intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) n = 48 (73.8%), theophylline n = 22 (33.8%), terbutaline n = 22 (33.8%), and thalidomide n = 5 (7.7%). In the 65 patients with follow-up, 5- and 10-year survival rates were 78% (n = 35) and 69% (n = 17), respectively. Preventive treatment with IVIg and terbutaline were the only factors significantly associated with survival in multivariate analysis. Neither the use of thalidomide nor theophylline was associated with improved survival. Five- and 10-year survival rates in patients treated with IVIg were 91% and 77%, respectively, compared to 47% and 37% in patients not treated with IVIg. Patients treated with IVIg were more likely to be free of recurrence, severe recurrence, and alive at the end of follow-up. Furthermore, all but one patient who did not experience a severe relapse were treated with IVIg. Since preventive treatment with IVIg was the strongest factor associated with survival, the use of IVIg is suggested as the first line in prevention therapy.

07/05/2017
Capillary leak syndrome: etiologies, pathophysiology, and management

Capillary leak syndrome: etiologies, pathophysiology, and management

Abstract: In various human diseases, an increase in capillary permeability to proteins leads to the loss of protein-rich fluid from the intravascular to the interstitial space. Although sepsis is the disease most commonly associated with this phenomenon, many other diseases can lead to a “sepsis-like” syndrome with manifestations of  diffuse pitting edema, exudative serous cavity effusions, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, hypotension, and, in some cases, hypovolemic shock with multiple-organ failure. The term capillary leak syndrome has been used to describe this constellation of disease manifestations associated with an increased capillary permeability to proteins. Diseases other than sepsis that can result in capillary leak syndrome include the idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome or Clarkson’s disease, engraftment syndrome, differentiation syndrome, the ovarian  hyperstimulation syndrome, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers, autoimmune diseases, snakebite envenomation, and ricin poisoning. Drugs including some interleukins, some monoclonal antibodies, and gemcitabine can also cause capillary leak syndrome. Acute kidney injury is commonly seen in all of these diseases. In addition to hypotension, cytokines are likely to be important in the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury in capillary leak syndrome. Fluid management is a critical part of the treatment of capillary leak syndrome;  hypovolemia and hypotension can cause organ injury, whereas capillary leakage of administered fluid can worsen organ edema leading to progressive organ injury. The purpose of this article is to discuss the diseases other than sepsis that produce capillary leak and review their collective pathophysiology and treatment.

03/24/2017
Idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome (Clarkson disease)

Idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome (Clarkson disease)

Abstract: The enigmatic systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS) named for Dr Clarkson is characterized by transient and severe but reversible hemoconcentration and hypoalbuminemia caused by leakage of fluids and macromolecules into tissues. Although less than 500 cases of SCLS have been reported in the literature since 1960, the condition is probably underdiagnosed because of a lack of awareness and a high mortality without treatment. Treatment of acute SCLS remains primarily supportive. Prophylaxis with IVIG appears promising, but this therapy is nonspecific and expensive. Mechanistic understanding of SCLS is in its infancy. As a result, clinicians today cannot predict when or how badly SCLS will flare; targeted therapies do not yet exist, and prolonged remission or cure remains elusive. Our working hypothesis invokes exaggerated microvascular endothelial responses to surges of otherwise routinely encountered inflammatory mediators. This emerging disease model lends itself to innovative patient-centered translational research in the ways highlighted above. It is our hope that detailed and personalized investigation of intraendothelial responses among individual patients with SCLS might illuminate novel genetic and molecular control mechanisms. In turn, such advances could deliver the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools sorely needed to combat this devastating disease.

03/23/2017
Sharing the Pain [of living with SCLS]

Sharing the Pain [of living with SCLS]

This article from The Washington Post newspaper tells the story of how this SCLS virtual community was created, the story of its founder and, more generally, of this fantastic RareShare site.

 

03/23/2017
The Mayo Clinic Experience with SCLS

Idiopathic Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome (Clarkson's Disease): The Mayo Clinic Experience

Abstract: Of the 34 patients whose records were reviewed, 25 fulfilled all diagnostic criteria for SCLS. The median age at diagnosis of SCLS was 44 years. Median follow-up of surviving patients was 4.9 years, and median time to diagnosis from symptom onset was 1.1 years (interquartile range, 0.5-4.1 years). Flulike illness or myalgia was reported by 14 patients (56%) at onset of an acute attack of SCLS, and rhabdomyolysis developed in 9 patients (36%). Patients with a greater decrease in albumin level had a higher likelihood of developing rhabdomyolysis (P=.03). Monoclonal gammopathy, predominantly of the IgG-kappa type, was found in 19 patients (76%). The progression rate to multiple myeloma was 0.7% per person-year of follow-up. The overall response rate to the different therapies was 76%, and 24% of patients sustained durable (>2 years) complete remission. The estimated 5-year overall survival rate was 76% (95% confidence interval, 59%-97%). In conclusion, SCLS, a rare disease that occurs in those of middle age, is usually diagnosed after a considerable delay from onset of symptoms. The degree of albumin decrement during an attack correlates with development of rhabdomyolysis. A reduction in the frequency and/or the severity of attacks was seen in nearly three-fourths of patients who were offered empiric therapies. The rate of progression to multiple myeloma appears to be comparable to that of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.

03/23/2017
Genome-Wide SNP Analysis of SCLS

Genome-Wide SNP Analysis of SCLS.

Abstract: Polymorphisms in genes whose functional annotations suggest involvement in cell junctions and signaling, cell adhesion, and cytoskeletal organization, correlate with our previous mechanistic studies of SCLS sera. Such annotations provide a framework for future allelic discrimination strategies to validate top-ranked SNPs discovered here, as well as novel SNPs unique to the SCLS cohort detected by exome capture sequencing. Although the findings must be corroborated in a larger cohort, they provide a springboard for discovery of underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, biomarkers, and avenues for therapy.

03/23/2017
IVIG in SCLS: A Case Report and Review of Literature

IVIG in SCLS: Report and Review of Literature.

Abstract: In recent years, IVIG has become a common first-line prophylactic therapy in most patients with benefits at the dose of 2 gr/kg once a month. Here the authors report the case of a 49-year-old male patient in Italy -- he is a member of this community -- with SCLS treated successfully with a lower dose of IVIG (1 gr/kg monthly) in the maintenance phase. He presented no acute episodes in a follow-up period of 28 months. The authors describe prophylactic treatments for SCLS in the literature and compare their patient to another 18 who received IVIG in follow-up.

03/23/2017
Mechanistic Classification of SCLS

Mechanistic Classification of SCLS.

Abstract: The authors analyzed circulating mediators of vascular permeability and proinflammatory cytokines in acute episodic sera from 14 patients with SCLS, and sera from 37 healthy control subjects. They monitored barrier function of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) after treatment with SCLS sera using transendothelial electrical resistance assays. Consistent with their previous study, the permeability factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was increased in sera from acutely ill subjects with SCLS. An analysis of samples from one SCLS patient who has not responded to any preventive therapies (and who is a member of this Community), suggests that SCLS may have clinically varying forms, and that within the group of patients with SCLS, different cytokines may mediate the capillary leak. Therefore, quantitative molecular and humanized cell-based assays for humoral mediators of permeability should improve diagnostic specificity for SCLS and enable clinicians to screen for effective therapies.

03/23/2017
High-Dose IVIG Therapy for SCLS

High-Dose IVIG Therapy for SCLS.

Abstract: We evaluated IVIG prophylactic therapy in a cohort of 29 patients with Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome in a longitudinal follow up study. All patients received treatments at the discretion of their primary providers and retrospectively via questionnaire recorded symptoms beginning with their first documented episode of the SCLS until May 31, 2014. Twenty-two out of 29 patients responded to the questionnaire, and 18 out of the 22 respondents received monthly prophylaxis with IVIG during the study period for a median interval of 32 months. The median annual attack frequency was 2.6/patient prior to IVIG therapy and 0/patient following initiation of IVIG prophylaxis (P = 0.001). 15 out of 18 subjects with a history of one or more acute SCLS episodes experienced no further symptoms while on IVIG therapy. In conclusion, IVIG prophylaxis is associated with a dramatic reduction in the occurrence of SCLS attacks in most patients, with minimal side effects.

03/23/2017
SCLS in Children

Idiopathic Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome in Children

Abstract: Adult subjects with systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS) present with acute and recurrent episodes of vascular leak manifesting as severe hypotension, hypoalbuminemia, hemoconcentration, and generalized edema. We studied clinical disease characteristics, serum cytokine profiles, and treatment modalities in a cohort of children with documented SCLS. Six children with SCLS were recruited from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Italy. Serum cytokines from SCLS subjects and a group of 10 healthy children were analyzed. Children with SCLS (aged 5-11 years old) presented with at least 1 acute, severe episode of hypotension, hypoalbuminemia, and hemoconcentration in the absence of underlying causes for these abnormalities. In contrast to what is observed in adult SCLS, identifiable infectious triggers precipitated most episodes in these children, and none of them had a monoclonal gammopathy. We found elevated levels of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), interleukin-8, and tumor necrosis factor α in baseline SCLS sera compared with the control group. All patients are alive and well on prophylactic therapy, with 4 patients receiving intravenous or subcutaneous immunoglobulins at regular intervals. The clinical manifestations of pediatric and adult SCLS are similar, with the notable exceptions of frequent association with infections and the lack of monoclonal gammopathy. Prophylactic medication, including high dose immunoglobulins or theophylline plus verapamil, appears to be safe and efficacious therapy for SCLS in children.

03/23/2017
Systemic capillary leak syndrome: recognition prevents morbidity and mortality

Systemic capillary leak syndrome: recognition prevents morbidity and mortality.

Abstract: The authors report on a case of SCLS in Australia involving a 61-year-old male who was properly diagnosed after his third episode, to increase awareness of the condition and to highlight the benefits of prophylactic intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in this condition. The diagnosis was made by exclusion and clinically by a classic triad of hypotension, hypoalbuminaemia and haemoconcentration. There have been recent advances in understanding the pathophysiological basis for SCLS and in effective prophylaxis, and the authors and patient benefitted from said advances.

03/23/2017
Laboratory Evidence of SCLS and of the Effectiveness of IVIG

Vascular Endothelial Hyperpermeability Induces The Clinical Symptoms of Clarkson Disease (The Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome)

Abstract: The authors report clinical and molecular findings on 23 subjects, the largest SCLS case series to date. Application of episodic SCLS sera, but neither the purified immunoglobulin fraction nor sera obtained from subjects during remission, to human microvascular endothelial cells caused vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) internalization, disruption of inter-endothelial junctions, actin stress fiber formation, and increased permeability in complementary functional assays without inducing endothelial apoptosis. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), one promising therapy for SCLS, mitigated the permeability effects of episodic sera directly. Consistent with the presence of endogenous, non-immunoglobulin, circulating permeability factor(s) constrained to SCLS episodes, we found that two such proteins, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin 2 (Ang2), were elevated in episodic SCLS sera but not in remission sera. Antibody-based inhibition of Ang2 counteracted permeability induced by episodic SCLS sera. Comparable experiments with anti-VEGF antibody (bevacizumab) yielded less interpretable results, likely due to endothelial toxicity of VEGF withdrawal. Our results support a model of SCLS pathogenesis in which non-immunoglobulin humoral factors such as VEGF and Ang2 contribute to transient endothelial contraction, suggesting a molecular mechanism for this highly lethal disorder.

03/23/2017
Successful Treatment of SCLS with IVIG

Successful Treatment of Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome with Intravenous Immunoglobulins.

Abstract: The authors report on a 48-year-old woman in Spain who had her 1st episode of SCLS in 1997 and was initially put on a regimen of terbutaline and aminophylline, but went on to endure 20 additional episodes in the subsequent 3 years. She was then treated with melphalan-prednisone for a year and the frequency and intensity of her episodes diminished and even disappeared. In 2005, however, the episodes returned and in 2008 she was finally put on a regimen of IVIG (2 g/kg) every 6 weeks. She has had no more episodes since then.

03/23/2017
Comment on SCLS

Comment on The Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome.

Abstract: The authors report on 2 additional patients from the United States with SCLS in whom prophylaxis with terbutaline and theophylline failed, but who had no further episodes after the initiation of IVIG therapy. There are additional published reports of successful prophylaxis with IVIG cited, and the authors are also aware of yet another case. Given the present state of knowledge and despite the high cost, the authors strongly believe that IVIG is the optimal prophylaxis and should be the initial choice to prevent attacks in patients with SCLS.

03/23/2017
IVIG: A Promising Approach to SCLS

High-dose intravenous immunoglobulins: A promising therapeutic approach for idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome.

Abstract: The article reports the case of a 40-year-old woman with chronic SCLS treated in Berne, Switzerland, with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) after a prophylactic therapy with theophylline and terbutaline (T&T) was poorly tolerated and failed to decrease the frequency and severity of the attacks. During the 5 years she was on T&T the patient suffered from about 20 similar episodes of mild to moderate shock, often requiring hospital re-admission and supportive therapy. So far, 10 months of prophylactic therapy with IVIG (2gr/kg/month) have resulted in an impressive reduction of intensity and frequency of attacks, confirming the finding of other case studies.

03/23/2017
Lessons from 28 European Patients with SCLS

The Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome: A Case Series of 28 Patients From a European Registry.

Abstract: The article describes the clinical characteristics, laboratory findings, treatments, and outcomes of patients with SCLS who were not previously reported in the literature. These European patients with SCLS were treated and monitored from the start of 1997 until end-July 2010. Survival rates were 89% at 1 year and 73% at 5 years; instances of death were directly related to SCLS attacks in 6 cases (75% of total). Treatments of various kinds increased the chances of survival: Five years after diagnosis, survival rates were 85% in 23 patients who had received a treatment and just 20% in 5 patients who had not. The authors provide additional evidence that a prophylactic treatment with IVIG tends to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks, and may improve the survival of patients with SCLS.

03/23/2017
Mayo Clinic write-up on SCLS

The Mayo Clinic's summary of the diagnosis and treatment of SCLS.

During an episode of systemic capillary leak syndrome, fluids are administered intravenously to maintain the patient's blood pressure and to prevent damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, heart and brain. The amount of fluid must be carefully controlled. An attempt to normalize blood pressure through aggressive fluid administration can cause destructive swelling of the body's extremities and overload the kidneys and lungs when the body needs to eliminate the excess fluids after the episode passes.

Glucocorticoids (steroids) are often injected during an acute capillary leak syndrome attack to reduce or stop the capillary leak. This is sometimes successful. Fluid pressure in muscles may be monitored. Emergency surgery may be needed to relieve pressure and minimize damage to muscles and nerves in the arms and legs.

Once the capillary walls stop leaking and fluids start to be reabsorbed, patients are usually given diuretics to speed up elimination of the fluids before they accumulate in the lungs and other vital organs, which can be a fatal complication.

Patients who avoid organ and limb damage in a capillary leak syndrome episode tend to recover their health after several days, once the capillary walls return to normal and the accumulated fluid is expelled from the body through urination.

Although no cure has been found for systemic capillary leak syndrome, the frequency and/or severity of episodes is often reduced by having patients take certain asthma medications: theophylline and terbutaline. Patients also may benefit from intravenous treatment with immunoglobulin or by taking thalidomide.

Patients may also be prescribed corticosteroid pills such as prednisone to be taken at the first sign of symptoms of another capillary leak.

03/23/2017
IVIG as Treatment for SCLS

Immunoglobulins for Treatment of Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome

Abstract: A 43-year-old white woman in France diagnosed with SCLS was put on the recommended combination of Theophylline plus Terbutaline, but she nevertheless had 10 episodes of severe capillary leak during 2001-mid-2007, necessitating intensive care unit admission for her last 3 episodes. She was then put on IVIG administered every 6 weeks, and this yielded a dramatic improvement such that she has had no more episodes and has returned to her normal lifestyle.

03/23/2017
IVIG as Treatment for SCLS

High-Dose Intravenous Immunoglobulins Dramatically Reverse Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome.

Abstract: The objective of this study was to report the dramatic improvement of patients with systemic capillary leak syndrome obtained with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulins. Systemic capillary leak syndrome is a rare and life-threatening disorder characterized by hypotension that can lead to shock, weight gain, hypoalbuminemia, and elevated hematocrit secondary to unexplained episodic capillary fluid extravasation into the interstitial space. Because its cause is unknown, systemic capillary leak syndrome treatment has remained largely supportive. Intravenous immunoglobulins administration to a patient with refractory systemic capillary leak syndrome yielded dramatic improvement. The patient is still alive 11 yrs after systemic capillary leak syndrome diagnosis and receives intravenous immunoglobulins monthly. Later, based on that result, intravenous immunoglobulins were successfully given to two other patients during the acute phase of systemic capillary leak syndrome. Both are still alive 8 and 1.5 yrs after receiving intravenous immunoglobulins at the onset of each flare. In conclusion, intravenous immunoglobulins were effective against systemic capillary leak syndrome symptoms in three patients, but their exact mechanism remains unknown. Their immunomodulatory effect merits further investigation.

03/23/2017
The Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome

Narrative review: the systemic capillary leak syndrome

Abstract: The systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS) is a rare disease of reversible plasma extravasation and vascular collapse accompanied by hemoconcentration and hypoalbuminemia. Its cause is unknown, although it is believed to be a manifestation of transient endothelial dysfunction due to endothelial contraction, apoptosis, injury, or a combination of these. Fewer than 150 cases of SCLS have been reported, but the condition is probably underrecognized because of its nonspecific symptoms and signs and high mortality rate. Patients experience shock and massive edema, often after a nonspecific prodrome of weakness, fatigue, and myalgias, and are at risk for ischemia-induced organ failure, rhabdomyolysis and muscle compartment syndromes, and venous thromboembolism. Shock and edema reverse almost as quickly as they begin, at which time patients are at risk for death from flash pulmonary edema during rapid fluid remobilization. Diagnosis is made clinically and by exclusion of other diseases that cause similar symptoms and signs, most notably sepsis, anaphylaxis, and angioedema. Acute episodes are treated with vasopressor therapy and judicious fluid replacement, possibly with colloid solutions for their osmotic effects, to prevent the sequelae of underperfusion. Prognosis is uncertain, but patients who survive an initial severe SCLS episode are estimated to have a 10-year survival rate greater than 70%. Much remains to be learned about SCLS, and clinicians should consider the diagnosis in patients with unexplained edema, increased hematocrit, and hypotension.

03/23/2017

Clinical Trials


Cords registry

CoRDS, or the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford, is based at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It provides researchers with a centralized, international patient registry for all rare diseases. This program allows patients and researchers to connect as easily as possible to help advance treatments and cures for rare diseases. The CoRDS team works with patient advocacy groups, individuals and researchers to help in the advancement of research in over 7,000 rare diseases. The registry is free for patients to enroll and researchers to access.

Enrolling is easy.

  1. Complete the screening form.
  2. Review the informed consent.
  3. Answer the permission and data sharing questions.

After these steps, the enrollment process is complete. All other questions are voluntary. However, these questions are important to patients and their families to create awareness as well as to researchers to study rare diseases. This is why we ask our participants to update their information annually or anytime changes to their information occur.

Researchers can contact CoRDS to determine if the registry contains participants with the rare disease they are researching. If the researcher determines there is a sufficient number of participants or data on the rare disease of interest within the registry, the researcher can apply for access. Upon approval from the CoRDS Scientific Advisory Board, CoRDS staff will reach out to participants on behalf of the researcher. It is then up to the participant to determine if they would like to join the study.

Visit sanfordresearch.org/CoRDS to enroll.

Community Leaders

aporzeca

I had my first episode of what turned out to be SCLS in November 2005, and was very lucky to have survived it (though with permanent disabilities in arms and legs, and thus in hands and feet) and to have been diagnosed correctly within days.

I went on to have 2 other life- and limb-threatening episodes in April 2007 and March 2009, requiring 2+ weeks of Intensive Care hospitalization to keep my organs alive and emergency fasciotomies to preserve the muscles and nerves I still have in my extremities.

I also had 7 episodes of lesser severity (Dec. 2007, June 2008, June 2009, July 2009, September 2009, and two in November 2009), because I realized I was having them early on, which allowed me to get a massive dose of steroids (Prednisone pills and/or injections of Solu-Medrol and Albumin) that effectively stopped the capillary leak phase of SCLS.

Given the increased frequency of my episodes of SCLS, despite having taken the recommended doses of the traditional medications (e.g., Theophylline, Terbutaline and Singulair), I was given my first infusion of IVIG in November 2009 and have had monthly infusions since then with no adverse side effects whatsoever. So far, so very good: I have had no more episodes of SCLS.

While I was among the first SCLS patients in the United States to benefit from an IVIG therapy, most other patients who had previously been getting this medication in Europe, and virtually all patients around the world who have since received IVIG, have stopped having episodes of SCLS.

Our stories are now told in a number of case studies published in various medical journals, and there is also a scientific article showing the efficacy of IVIG in countering SCLS in laboratory conditions based on our blood samples before and after receiving IVIG, as well as several articles with the results of surveys of SCLS patients who have been on IVIG.  The evidence that IVIG is the best and almost always successful therapy for the prevention of episodes of SCLS is now overwhelming.

My address is aporzeca@american.edu

 

Expert Questions

Ask a question

Gwendolyn20 Message
4 Jan 2017, 08:33 PM

My friend was diagnosed with SCLS about 2 years ago and has been on IVIG for almost the 2 years after his first episode. He now decided to stop the IVIG infusions, though he's very well aware of the risk that comes should he get a second episode. I'm just wondering if there's anything I could do to help him in this transition as I don't know what his reaction might be. Or if there should be any red flags I should look for in case he gets an episode, or any signs that he could be getting one, or should get back on the IVIG.

Answer

Until the specific cause(s) of SCLS can be identified, and a more targeted therapy can be developed, the experts at the National Institutes of Health recommend that confirmed SCLS patients should receive monthly IVIG infusions indefinitely.

If I were you, I would encourage your friend and his main physician to reach out and consult with Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH, especially if this was not done previously. (His coordinates appear towards the bottom of the tab "Disorder Details.") I would want to make sure that (1) my friend's diagnosis of SCLS was made correctly -- mistakes are common -- and (2) that an informed dialogue between knowledgeable physicians and my friend had taken place.

The upside of your friend stopping his therapy is that if by chance (a) he was indeed a confirmed case of SCLS and (b) he has no more episodes despite being off his medication, that would certainly provide worthwhile information to the rest of us who endure these expensive and intrusive treatments indefinitely.

The downside of your friend stopping his therapy is that he could have a life- or limb-threatening episode. The episodes are characterized by 3 clinical features measurable in a hospital's Emergency Room setting: hypotension (unusually low blood pressure), hemoconcentration (too many red blood cells per unit of plasma), and hypoalbuminemia (low albumin levels in the blood). (See more under "Disorder Details".)

And if he were to have an episode, tell him to demand a crash infusion of IVIG upon confirmation of the 3 clinical symptoms. (And it would help a great deal if he were to carry with him a letter from his physician stating that he is to be given IVIG if he should be having a confirmed episode.)

While there is limited experience with SCLS patients surviving an episode thanks to getting a last-minute infusion of IVIG -- and I have personally watched two SCLS patients die in the hospital despite getting their first taste of IVIG during their episodes -- at least nobody could blame themselves for not trying, in a life-or-death emergency, what seems to work best when received on a regular, monthly basis.

Rubeanie Message
29 Dec 2016, 04:15 AM

I am not sure if I am a rare breed or very fortunate (so far). In February of this year 2016), I had a "rash" from head to toe. I was misdiagnosed, but then in April I had what my doctors believe was a full-blown episode of SCLS. I have had several small ones since then. I was put on montelukast (Singulair) and have not had an episode since. My question is: will the montelukast always work, or will the SCLS flare up again?

Answer

If you really have SCLS, then you are both a rare breed -- because SCLS is a one-in-a-million, exceedingly rare disease -- and very fortunate so far -- because there is zero evidence that montelukast (Singulair) prevents episodes of SCLS.

Before the good news about IVIG for SCLS became widely known (namely, before 2008), I used to take theophylline, terbutaline and montelukast to prevent further episodes -- and yet I went on to have them again and again until I received my first dose of IVIG in late 2009. If I had not, I would probably have died in 2010.

Therefore, my advice to you is as follows. First, you must have your diagnosed confirmed, and the best way to go about doing that is to have your treating physician send in ASAP a copy of your medical records to Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH (see contact information at the bottom of the tab "Disorder Details") requesting an expert evaluation. If Dr. Druey suspects that the diagnosis may be correct, he will probably invite you to fly in to NIH (located in Bethesda, MD, in the outskirts of Washington, DC) for a full, in-person assessment.

And second, if and when your diagnosis of SCLS is confirmed, then Dr. Druey will work with your physician on a treatment plan which may well include an IVIG-based therapy.

Please do not delay: if you really have SCLS, then it's only a question of when, not if, you will experience your next episode -- and it could be fatal.

cpollet Message
20 Nov 2016, 10:27 PM

I'm a young Italian doctor that is following for about 6 months a male patient, 57 years old, for a suspected diagnosis of SCLS. His history began in 2014...

...

I'd like to know if, in your experience, I could improve his clinical situation by the addition of other drugs (Immunoglobiln iv? Terbutaline?) and if so in what dosage. My experience in SLCS doesn't exist and all that I know results from reading some literature. I ask you for help to improve my experience and my patient's health

Answer

Dear Dr. Pollet:

As you will understand, we are strongly discouraged from making diagnoses and recommending specific treatments on this website.

Therefore, I suggest that you request a consultation from any one of the leading authorities on SCLS identified towards the bottom of our page "Disorder Details": Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH; Dr. Mark Pecker at Weill Cornell/New York Hospital; and/or Dr. Zahir Amoura at the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.

Their emails are provided, so all you need to do is write to them giving them the details you sent to me plus whatever additional medical history you can deliver, and I am sure they will write back to you with their best advice on how to proceed.

LorraineKH Message
24 Jun 2016, 05:02 PM

A family member (nephew) was recently diagnosed with SCLS, while out of state. He seemingly received excellent care, and now I am trying to help with resource finding and financial assistance for what undoubtedly will be a very expensive trip to the hospital. I would like to be his ombudsman in the healthcare system he is in, do you have any idea how I might go about doing that? He is very intelligent, but I expect him to go through some periods of grieving and adjustment after his elation of finally coming home. Finally, are there any physicians in Colorado with experience treating SCLS? I have a bazillion questions, but will stop here for now! Thank you for being here!

Answer

Welcome to our Community! You will find here just about all the information you and your nephew need, so start by reading the main sections ("Disorder Details" and "Disorder Resources") and then going through the "Discussion Forum," picking among the topics that interest you most. You'll want to print out some of these sections and have your nephew take the printouts whenever he sees a doctor or finds himself in a hospital's ER

If your nephew was diagnosed correctly -- and especially if he wasn't -- the first thing he will need is a top-notch internist to serve as his "anchor physician." Forget about finding an expert on SCLS; you need to find a veteran, compassionate physician who will make the time to manage a rare-disease patient, is willing to read up on the condition, and is pro-active in consulting with the handful of physicians who really know about SCLS, as mentioned in the "Disorder Details" section.

My advice is to look for one who is affiliated with a medical school in Colorado (preferably, the Univ. of Colorado), and has the rank of Professor or at least Associate Professor, as long as they practice within, say, a couple of hours driving distance from where your nephew will live. Check out the list at http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/medicine/GIM/Faculty_Staff/Pages/Faculty-Roster.aspx

And please encourage your nephew to educate himself about his diagnosis and to join this Community. Many of our members, myself included, are alive and have a reasonably good quality of life thanks to what we learned here -- and only here. Besides, it's therapeutic to interact with others who provide information and moral support.

davec Message
21 Jan 2016, 07:38 PM

As I recover from my bouts with SCLS, I am curious if exercise in the gym, jogging or tennis is recommended? Second, how long after an episode should one wait before traveling internationally again: 6 months, a year?

Answer

As far as we know, physical exercise and international travel do not cause episodes of SCLS.

We have a few patients in this Community who were very active (e.g., biking or skying) for decades before they had their first episode of SCLS, and then we have a vast majority of patients who exercised moderately or little before they were hit. Likewise, we have a few patients who used to do a lot of domestic and/or international travel before their first episode, and a large proportion of patients who did not travel much.

Of course, we also have many patients who would like to engage in moderate or vigorous exercise and sports but cannot because of the damage they suffered in feet, legs, hands, arms or vital organs in the wake of their first episode of SCLS.

We also have patients who would like to travel abroad but are afraid to do so because they don't want to fall ill far away from home, family and their medical doctors.

In this regard, consider yourself very fortunate to be able to contemplate re-engaging in sports and in international travel.

The question you should ask yourself is: Why am I still having bouts of (presumed) SCLS? Being vulnerable to further episodes is the most risky thing you can do, because if you really suffer from SCLS, and you are not receiving a therapy that is effective in preventing the episodes, then you are vulnerable to having an episode that will leave you crippled or dead.

If you haven't done so already, I recommend that you have your physician send your medical history to Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH, see bottom of the "Disorder Details" section, so that he and his team may confirm your diagnosis and work with your physician to come up with an effective course of therapy for you.

janiegrrrlaz Message
9 Dec 2015, 07:04 PM

Are you aware of any treating physicians in the Phoenix (AZ) area? I was turned away by both the Mayo Clinic here and in Rochester, MN. I was told they do not "have any one qualified" to treat me. I am waiting to hear back from NIH also. Thank you!

Answer

I'm sorry that the Mayo Clinic seems to have dropped the ball in your case, but you really don't need them.

While I don't have the name of any physicians who have treated an SCLS patient in Arizona, I have two common-sense suggestions good for anyone in any place.

First, make absolutely sure that you have been diagnosed correctly by having your medical and hospital records sent by your main physician to Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH, requesting a consultation on your case. It sounds like you already initiated contact with him, so that is good. Having a correct diagnosis is crucial to everything else.

Second, if your current physician is not interested in your case, or seems overwhelmed by it, then find a new "anchor" doctor, preferably a seasoned internist on the faculty of a university hospital, to provide a fresh pair of eyes, accept a diagnosis of SCLS, discuss your case with Dr. Druey, coordinate your care, and decide on therapy options including IVIG.

It doesn't matter that he or she may not have even heard of SCLS before: by now there is plenty of useful literature, see the Disorder Resources section of this website.

In Phoenix, you are lucky to have the University of Arizona Medical College, so I would look there. Ask for an initial appointment with the Chair of Internal Medicine, Dr. David Wisinger, tel. 602-344-5027, davidwisinger@email.arizona.edu If he doesn't take you on himself, he will have recommendations for you.

mweston Message
25 Jun 2015, 03:13 AM

I am currently battling breast cancer, and my oncologist has recommended me for a clinical trial involving T cells. It involves taking my blood, removing the T cells, growing them and coating them with antibodies, and then infusing them back into my body so they may fight cancer. The purpose of contacting you is that one of the drugs to be given to me during this trial, Interleukein-2, supposedly can trigger the Capillary Leak Syndrome! Have you heard of this connection? Should I participate in this clinical trial?

Answer

I know nothing about this, and my suggestion is that you have your oncologist contact Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH to ask him what he knows and thinks about it. He knows more than anybody about SCLS and he has a lot of top-flight colleagues he can consult with. His contact information appears toward the bottom of the "Disorder Details" tab.

Tvaughn Message
24 Jun 2015, 12:20 AM

My daughter-in-law has recently been diagnosed with this disease. I want to find out as much as I can in order to understand what the disease does to her, and what I can do to help her. Are there any treatment options that we can use in or near Dallas, Texas?

Answer

Welcome to our Community, and the best thing you and her doctors can do is read the information appearing in the "Disorder Details" and "Disorder Resources" sections of this website -- because when it comes to exceedingly rare diseases like SCLS, the lack of accurate and timely information can be disastrous for the patient and her caregivers.

And of course there are great care and treatment options available in or near Dallas, TX. I suggest that she find herself a senior internal-medicine physician affiliated with a top hospital like the Baylor Univ. Medical Center or the Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Blinski Message
31 Mar 2015, 10:50 PM

I am a physician and am quite confident that my father, who has been hospitalized a number of times in the past 2 years, has SCLS. His symptom complex and lab results at times of attack, and difficult recoveries due to aggressive fluid resuscitation, are literally a textbook case. His current physicians are failing him miserably, so have you any suggestions of any others in the South Florida area that could help? Also, how do you find a physician that is willing and able to initiate IVIG infusions?

Answer

So sorry to hear about your father! It is bad enough to be sick, but it is worse still to be sick and without an appropriate diagnosis -- never mind a suitable therapy.

While I don't have the name of any SCLS expert in South Florida, I have two suggestions good for any place. First, get hold of your father's medical and hospital records and send them to Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH requesting a consultation on his case.

Second, find a new "anchor" physician for your father, preferably a seasoned internist on the faculty of a university hospital, to provide a fresh pair of eyes, consider a possible diagnosis of SCLS, discuss his case with Dr. Druey, coordinate his care, and decide on therapy options including IVIG. It doesn't matter that he or she may not have even heard of SCLS before: by now there is plenty of useful literature, see the Disorder Resources section of this website.

While immunologists are obviously very familiar with IVIG therapies, and one of them could be enlisted to support the initiation of a course of therapy for your father, the clinical judgment and follow-up of an internist will be very important. Involving a hematologist has sometimes helped, but most of them have a narrow interest in oncological cases, so they are often not interested or helpful.

kgoldade Message
29 Mar 2015, 11:15 PM

My 2-and-a-1/2 years' old grandson has SCLS. Do you know if IVIG therapy has worked in someone so young?

Answer

IVIG therapy for children diagnosed with SCLS is a relatively new thing, but as is the case with adults, it is looking very promising. And yes, in a recently published survey of pediatric cases of SCLS, titled "Idiopathic Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome in Children," which you can see listed at the bottom of the Disorder Resources section of this Community's website, there is discussion of a child (identified as P2) who is 5 years old now and has been on IVIG -- and episode-free -- since she was 33 months old. I suggest that you let your grandson's doctors know about it, and they can then contact the lead author, Dr. Kirk Druey at NIH, with any related questions they may have.

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<p>I have recently(Septembe...
<p>SCLS - Perth, Western Au...
<p>I have had SCLS for over...
<p>I am a 45 year old nurse...
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L
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<p>arielbatt@yahoo.com</p> ...
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65 yo male, diagnosed in Ja...
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Update 2016: <p>&nbsp;</p> ...
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