Idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome (Clarkson disease)

Kirk M. Druey, Samir M. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


In 1960, Dr Bayard Clarkson described a woman experiencing sporadic recurrent episodes of shock and anasarca. Plasma from an acute attack induced a shock-like syndrome when injected into rats. The enigmatic systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS) named for Dr Clarkson is characterized by transient and severe but reversible hemoconcentration and hypoalbuminemia caused by leakage of fluids and macromolecules into tissues. Although less than 500 cases of SCLS have been reported in the literature since 1960, the condition is probably underdiagnosed because of a lack of awareness and a high mortality without treatment. Allergists should be vigilant of this diagnosis because its presentation can resemble more common plasma leakage syndromes, including angioedema or systemic anaphylaxis. Although the precise molecular cause of SCLS remains unknown, substantial advances over the last 5 years have increased our understanding of SCLS pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • anaphylaxis
  • angioedema
  • intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Vascular leak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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