Burkitt lymphoma discovered in Puerto Rican patient without symptoms

Without symptoms, but with great tumor and viral involvement.

Dr. Zullimary Rodríguez Galarza, part of the Family Medicine team at the Mayagüez Medical Center (MMC).

Belinda Z. Burgos González
Latin Agency for Medicine and Public Health News

This 52-year-old patient came to the emergency room with a mass in his left armpit.

The man had a history of hypertension, sleep apnea, and on a previous admission he had suffered from pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung tissue).

Said tissue, to everyone’s surprise, provided an unexpected clinical lesson to the medical team.

“The patient presented to the clinic for a mass that was emerging in his left armpit that grew rapidly in two months and was a painful one. Due to a sonogram, it is not ruled out that it was an aneurysm, and it was then evaluated by means of an arteriogram as it was quite vascular and it was decided to remove it for a biopsy, ”Dr. Zullimary Rodríguez reported in an interview with Medicine and Public Health (MSP) Galarza, part of the Family Medicine team at Mayagüez Medical Center (MMC).

Precisely the vascularization of this mass put the team on alert. This refers to the development of new blood vessels in tissue such as muscles or in an organ.

“The patient was discharged, but he returns to us with a positive mass for Burkitt’s lymphoma, it is a very fast growing form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” he said.

Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) is a disease that was first discovered in children in certain parts of Africa. It is also registered in the United States.

African-type LB is closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the leading cause of infectious mononucleosis, although in the United States this disease is not linked to EBV, according to the United States National Library of Medicine.

In addition, people with HIV / AIDS are at increased risk for this condition. LB is seen more frequently in men, adds the same source.

“In the study carried out by the hemato-oncologist the patient was confirmed to be HIV positive. So this lymphoma was related to this virus. The strange thing is that this patient never had symptoms related to HIV or the symptoms that these types of lymphomas present such as fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, although his CD4 count was low (white blood cells that play an important role in defense against diseases), characteristic of patients with HIV, and another curious fact is that he did not present opportunistic infections, “he added.

“The patient is still alive and has a good quality of life,” he concluded.

According to the publication of this case, BL can occur in up to 10% of patients with HIV.

In Puerto Rico there are approximately as of December 31, 2014, over 46,600 people have been diagnosed with HIV infection in

Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Health.

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