Spontaneous tibial artery thrombosis associated with varicella pneumonia and free protein S deficiency

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Pneumonia is the most common serious complication of varicella infection in adults. A variety of thrombotic complications including purpura fulminans and disseminated intravascular coagulation have been reported in children with varicella but not in adults. Two men with varicella pneumonia who had profound lower extremity ischemia caused by thrombosis of the profunda femoris and tibial arteries are reported. Both patients had free protein S deficiency and vascular thrombosis in association with varicella pneumonia without overt evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation or purpura fulminans. Antiphospholipid immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M antibodies were present in one, whereas the other had evidence of the lupus anticoagulant. The proposed pathogenesis and management options including intraarterial thrombolytic therapy with urokinase and the need for long-term anticoagulation are discussed.

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