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Neonatal acute lymphocytic leukaemia: an unusual presentation of a rare disease


Infantile acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) seldom presents within the first month of life. Most are diagnosed before birth. Postnatal diagnoses are easily recognisable when characteristic features are present, namely hepatosplenomegaly, leukaemia cutis or infiltrative disease of the extramedullar and central nervous system. However, some children present with vague and non-specific symptoms masquerading as other diseases. We report an unusual presentation of infantile ALL in a 19-day-old infant, who struggled with feeding after a diagnosis of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease since birth. To the best of our knowledge, this is the youngest case report of neonatal ALL, presenting with vomiting, lethargy and dehydration. The neonate presented to our paediatric assessment unit acutely due to progression of her symptoms. General physical examination was unremarkable apart from signs of lethargy and dehydration. Blood investigation revealed an incidental finding of high white cells, including 90% blast cells. Early diagnosis in this case meant early treatment and a good prognosis.

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