BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006914
  • Rare disease

Giant cell phlebitis: a potentially lethal clinical entity

  1. Noriyoshi Yamakita
  1. Matsunami General Hospial, Gifu, Hashima, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Takeshige Kunieda, kunieda_t{at}

An 83-year-old woman presented to us with a 4-week history of general malaise, subjective fever and lower abdominal pain. Despite the intravenous infusion of antibiotics, her blood results and physical condition worsened, resulting in her sudden death. Autopsy study revealed that the medium-sized veins of the mesentery were infiltrated by eosinophil granulocytes, lymphocytes, macrophages and multinucleated giant cells; however, the arteries were not involved. Microscopically, venous giant cell infiltration was observed in the gastrointestinal tract, bladder, retroperitoneal tissues and myocardium. The final diagnosis was giant cell phlebitis, a rare disease of unknown aetiology. This case demonstrates for the first time that giant cell phlebitis involving extra-abdominal organs, including hearts, can cause serious morbidity.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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