Habibullah Khan, Javaid Hussain


Hypoalbuminemia is a common cause of generalized edema. Although the underlying cause can usually be identified but very rarely we may come across a case with no detectable cause either clinically or by routine investigations. These cases may be labeled as having idiopathic hypoalbuminemia. These are challenging cases for diagnosis and usually lead to treatment errors exposing the patient to side-effects of unnecessary medications. We present an adult patient with idiopathic hypoalbuminemia who presented with generalized edema and had no evidence of renal, hepatic, cardiac, or thyroid abnormality. A year later he developed severe thrombocytopenia three days after taking sodium valproate for headache. Astonishingly his bone marrow examination revealed chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. He BCR ABL was negative. Corticosteroids and supportive care with platelet concentrates and whole blood was given but he could not make.


Hypoalbuminemia; Albumin; Edema; Myelomonocytic leukemia.

Full Text:



Gatta A, Verardo A, Bolognesi M. Hypoalbuminemia. Intern Emerg Med 2012 Suppl 3:S193-9.

Losowsky MS, Alltree EM, Atkinson M. Plasma colloid osmotic pressure and its relation to protein fractions. Clin Sci 1962; 22:249.

Gill JR, Waldmann TA, Bartter FC. Idiopathic edema: 1. The occurrence of hypoalbuminemia and abnormal albumin metabolism in women with unexplained edema. Am J Med 1972; 52:444-51.

Hsu P, Xie Z, Frith K, Wong M, Kakakios A, Stone KD, et al. Idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome in children. Pediatrics 2015; 135:e730-5.

Watkins S, Madison J, Gallianott M, Minchiottit L, Putnam FW. A nucleotide insertion and frameshift cause analbuminemia in an Italian family. Proc Nati Acad Sci 1994; 91:2275-9.

Weinstock JV, Kawanishi H, Sisson J. Morphologic, biochemical and physiologic alterations in a case of idiopathic hypoalbuminemia (analbuminemia). Am J Med 1979; 67:132-9.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© 2011 Gomal Journal of Medical Sciences