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Adult-onset Still disease: a rare disorder with a potentially fatal outcome



The aim of this study was to assess the clinical and laboratory features of a cohort of Italian patients with adult-onset Still disease (AOSD) with particular attention on possible life-threatening complications.


The clinical charts of 41 consecutive Italian patients with AOSD referred to our rheumatological department over the last 10 years were retrospectively examined. Data regarding clinical manifestations, laboratory features and complications were collected and compared with those reported in literature.


The most frequent manifestations were: fever (90.2%), arthralgias (80.4%), skin rash (75.6%), sore throat (53.6%), arthritis (51.2%), lymphadenopathy (48.7%), hepatosplenomegaly (41.4%), myalgia (21.9%), fatigue (12%), diarrhoea and vomiting (9.7%), pleural effusion (9.7%), pericardial effusion (4.8%) and abdominal pain (2.4%). In two patients whose cases are described in detail; the course of the disease was complicated by disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, in one patient with a fatal outcome. ESR, CRP and leucocyte count mean values were 69.41 mm/h, 69.05 mg/l and 18,798.5 cell/mm3 (neutrophils 84.64%), respectively. Serum ferritin levels were increased in 48.7% of patients while transaminases were elevated in 42.6% of patients (71% considering only patients in an active phase of disease).


The results of this study are in line with those reported for other cohorts of patients. Even if the prognosis of AOSD is considered favourable, the present study indicates that the disease is a troubling condition needing prompt intervention. Occasionally, AOSD may rapidly worsen with life-threatening events.


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Correspondence to Roberta Priori.

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Priori, R., Colafrancesco, S., Gattamelata, A. et al. Adult-onset Still disease: a rare disorder with a potentially fatal outcome. Autoimmun Highlights 1, 53–59 (2010).

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  • Adult-onset Still disease
  • Fever
  • Auto inflammatory diseases
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Myocarditis