The Overlap Syndrome: A Case Report of Chronic Graft-Versus-
Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...
Ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is one of the most severe complications of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It manifests as an impairment of the ocular surface, such as severe dry eye disease, and deteriorates the recipient's visual function and quality of life. We encountered an “overlap syndrome” of ocular GVHD, which is characterized by the presence of both acute and chronic GVHD symptoms. In this report, we present the treatment progress of the overlap syndrome in a case with ocular GVHD.

A 57-year-old man with acute myeloblastic leukemia underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Six weeks after the treatment, the recipient complained of eye pain and discharge. He was diagnosed with the overlap syndrome due to low tear volume, severe corneal epithelitis, hyperemia, and a pseudomembrane on the conjunctiva. Immune cell infiltration, fibrinoid degeneration, fibroblastic and spindle-shaped cells, and fibrosis were observed in the pathology of the pseudomembrane. The recipient was treated with topical immunosuppression and pseudomembrane removal. One week after the initial treatment, ocular GVHD improved. Twelve weeks after the treatment, the topical steroid was discontinued due to the elevation of intraocular pressure.

The assessment of conjunctival pseudomembrane in ocular GVHD is important to determine the stage of the case and to assess systemic GVHD. Furthermore, prompt removal of the pseudomembrane after diagnosis is appropriate management to reduce the symptoms of ocular GVHD. The combination of topical steroids and immunosuppressive agents is suggested to be an effective treatment in the management of overlap syndrome.