Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is one of the most severe forms of primary immunodeficiency characterized by absence of functional T lymphocytes. It is a paediatric emergency, which is life-threatening when recognized too late. The clinical presentation varies from the classical form of SCID through atypical SCID to Omenn syndrome. In addition, there is a considerable immunological variation, which can hamper the diagnosis. In this educational review, we describe the immunopathological background, clinical presentations and diagnostic process of SCID, as well as the therapeutic possibilities.