Research

A retrospective description of primary immuno­deficiency diseases at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, 1975 - 2017

S Moodley, E Goddard, M Levin, C Scott, A van Eyssen, A Davidson, R De Decker, J M Wilmshurst, A Spitaels, B Eley

Abstract


Background. The primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs) constitute a diverse and ever-expanding group of inborn errors affecting a wide range of immune functions. They are not well documented in sub-Saharan Africa.

Objectives. To describe the spectrum of PIDs at a tertiary paediatric hospital.

Methods. A retrospective descriptive study of PIDs diagnosed at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa (SA), between 1975 and 2017 was undertaken.

Results. We identified 252 children with PIDs, spanning eight of the nine categories listed in the 2017 classification of the International Union of Immunological Societies. Predominantly antibody deficiencies, combined immunodeficiencies with associated syndromic features, and immunodeficiencies affecting cellular and humoral immunity accounted for most children with PIDs (n=199, 79.0%). The mean age (standard deviation) at diagnosis was 46 (50) months, and the male/female ratio was 1.5:1. There was a history of parental consanguinity in 3 cases (1.2%). Recurrent infection was the most prevalent presenting phenotype, manifesting in 177 patients (70.2%). Genetic or chromosomal confirmation was obtained in 42/252 cases (16.7%). Common interventions used to prevent infection were antimicrobial prophylaxis and immunoglobulin replacement therapy, administered to 95 (37.7%) and 93 (36.9%) of the patients, respectively. Six of 7 children who underwent haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) had successful outcomes. The 7th patient died 2 months after HSCT from overwhelming infection. Although we could not account for the children lost to follow-up during the study period, 53 deaths were confirmed (21.0%).

Conclusions. Several challenges exist in the recognition and treatment of children with PIDs in our setting. These include limited access to genetic diagnostics and HSCT. Suboptimal treatment options contribute to the overall mortality of PIDs in SA.

 


Authors' affiliations

S Moodley, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

E Goddard, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M Levin, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Allergology, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

C Scott, Paediatric Rheumatology Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A van Eyssen, Haematology/Oncology Service, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A Davidson, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Haematology/Oncology Service, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

R De Decker, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Paediatric Cardiology Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

J M Wilmshurst, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Paediatric Neurology Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; and Neuroscience Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Spitaels, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

B Eley, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Paediatric Infectious Diseases Unit, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Primary immunodeficiencies; Children; Epidemiology

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(3):197-203. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i3.14200

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-02-26
Date published: 2020-02-26

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