A Rare Case of Helicobacter pylori Infection Complicated by Henoch-Schonlein Purpura in an Adult Patient

Mujtaba Mohamed, Mohammed Shariff, Alsadiq Al Hillan, Rani Al Haj, Christian Kaunzinger, Mohammad Hossain, Arif Asif, Nikolaos T. Pyrsopoulos


Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is known as a leukocytoclastic vasculitis of small vessels, resulting in skin, joint, gastrointestinal (GI) and renal involvement. It is the most common acute vasculitis in children but is relatively uncommon in adults. The pathogenesis of HSP remains unclear, but a wide variety of conditions such as bacterial or viral infections, vaccinations, drugs and other environmental exposures may be responsible for the onset. A few previous case reports have described an association between gastric Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection and HSP. A 30-year-old Indian man who migrated to the USA from India 3 years prior to this presentation with a past medical history of psoriasis on remission, not on any medications presented to the emergency department with sudden onset constant abdominal pain for 5 days. The pain was in the right upper quadrant, spasmodic in nature. The abdominal examination was normal. The patient was evaluated with complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, urinalysis, computed tomography scan of abdomen and pelvis, and right upper quadrant ultrasound, all of which were negative except for leukocytosis. He was discharged on pantoprazole and tramadol. Pain continued despite treatment. Patient was readmitted 2 days later, when he noticed a new maculopapular rash on both legs. Upper GI endoscopy was done showing non-bleeding small gastric ulcer with multiple duodenal erosions. Gastric biopsy came back positive for HP and he was started on clarithromycin, amoxicillin and lansoprazole. Pain persisted after finishing antibiotic course. Rash continued to spread to involve the thighs, flanks, around the umbilicus and extensor surfaces of arms. Immunological workup was negative. A skin biopsy of the skin rash came back positive for leukocytoclastic vasculitis. HSP diagnosis was made by exclusion. Patient was started on prednisone 40 mg daily and improved drastically on the following day. He was continued steroids taper for 8 weeks. Rash as well as abdominal pain resolved completely. In conclusion, HSP involves the skin, GI tract, joints and kidneys. It is a pediatric disease and rarely occurs in adults. It can be associated with underlying malignancy in adults. HP infection can trigger HSP in pediatric and adult patients. Detection of the carrier state is crucial in HSP patients in areas where HP is endemic. Eradication of HP infection is usually associated with the resolution of HSP. In resistant cases with GI and renal involvement, corticosteroids use results in resolution of symptoms and reduction of the duration of mild nephritis.

J Med Cases. 2020;11(6):160-165
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3480


Helicobacter pylori; Henoch-Schonlein purpura; Abdominal pain

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