Case report: a 37-year-old male with telangiectasias, polycythemia vera, perinephric fluid collections, and intrapulmonary shunting

BMC Hematol. 2014 Jul 22;14(1):11. doi: 10.1186/2052-1839-14-11. eCollection 2014.


Background: The TEMPI syndrome was recently described in 2011, and is characterized by the constellation of five hallmarks: Telangiectasias, Erythrocytosis and elevated Erythropoietin, Monoclonal gammopathy, Perinephric fluids collections, and Intrapulmonary shunting. The underlying pathophysiology is unknown, though it has been postulated that the monoclonal gammopathy may play a causal role.

Case presentation: A 37-year-old non-smoking male presented to our institution with a fever and the sensation of fullness in the right flank. His exam was notable for telangiectasias, clubbing of the fingernails, plethora, and a palpable bulge in the right flank. Renal ultrasound demonstrated bilateral perinephric fluid collections. Laboratory evaluation revealed erythrocytosis with low serum erythropoietin, and testing for the JAK2V617F mutation was positive, confirming a diagnosis of polycythemia vera. Though his room air saturation was normal at rest, it decreased dramatically with exercise, felt to be secondary to microscopic intrapulmonary shunting. The patient's presentation is very similar to that of the TEMPI syndrome, a very rare syndrome of which there have been six published cases. In contrast to the TEMPI syndrome where the erythrocytosis is driven by highly elevated serum erythropoietin, our patient was found to have polycythemia vera. Also in contrast to the other patients with TEMPI syndrome, our patient did not have an identifiable monoclonal gammopathy. Our patient responded to treatment with hydroxyurea. His erythrocytosis, perinephric fluid collections, and telangiectasias resolved over the course of six months. The intrapulmonary shunting has continued to gradually improve with treatment, suggesting that this is an entirely reversible process.

Conclusion: Our case is the first to describe the combination of polycythemia vera, telangiectasias, perinephric fluid collections, and intrapulmonary shunting. The presentation is highly similar to the previously described TEMPI syndrome, though calls into question the potential importance of the monoclonal gammopathy. Our patient demonstrated a response to treatment with hydroxyurea, while patients with the TEMPI syndrome have shown responses to plasma-cell directed therapies such as bortezomib.

Keywords: Erythrocytosis; Erythropoietin; Monoclonal gammopathy; Perinephric fluid; Polycythemia; TEMPI.

Publication types

  • Case Reports