Gelatinous bone marrow transformation due to extensive weight loss in median arcuate ligament syndrome

BMJ Case Rep. 2022 Jan 17;15(1):e246916. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2021-246916.


A 34-year-old man was referred to the outpatient clinic because of progressive abdominal pain, weight loss and pancytopenia. His body mass index (BMI) had fallen to 14.2 kg/m2 A CT angiography (CTA) showed narrowing of the truncus coeliacus with poststenotic dilation, and duodenal biopsy revealed ischaemia establishing a rare diagnosis: median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS). This explained the postprandial pain and minimal intake. Further pancytopenia workup was performed. The bone marrow displayed gelatinous marrow transformation (GMT), a rare disorder of unknown pathogenesis, which has been associated with severe malnutrition. The final diagnosis was pancytopenia secondary to GMT due to severe malnutrition caused by MALS. The abnormalities in the bone marrow may be reversible by restoring nutritional status. This case emphasises the awareness of GMT in patients with weight loss, malnutrition and cytopenias. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating an association between pancytopenia and MALS.

Keywords: gastroenterology; haematology (incl blood transfusion).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow
  • Celiac Artery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome*
  • Pancytopenia* / etiology
  • Weight Loss