Malawi Medical Journal

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Heiner Syndrome: An uncommon cause of failure to thrive

Ayotade B Ojuawo


Heiner syndrome (HS) is a rare hypersensitivity reaction of an infant or young child to cow milk proteins. It is a disease characterised by failure to thrive, respiratory symptoms like cough, dyspnoea, wheeze and rhinitis with accompanying chest infiltrates on chest radiograph; gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea; and anaemia. The non-specific nature of the disease can result in delayed diagnosis and treatment and central to the condition is hypersensitivity to cow milk proteins.
Several cases have been reported worldwide but there has been no report of this condition in Africa.
We highlight the case of a sixteen week old child seen in our facility with features typical of Heiner syndrome. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for this condition especially in children predominantly on infant formula.

AJOL African Journals Online