A patient with Whipple's disease presented with a long prodromal period characterized by granulomatous lymphadenitis and progressive lymphedema of the extremities. No gastrointestinal tract symptoms were present and a small bowel biopsy sample was normal. His clinical condition deteriorated with the onset of lymphocytic myocarditis. At autopsy, intestinal involvement with macrophages that stained positively with periodic acid—Schiff was limited primarily to the submucosa. Diffuse fibrous effacement of lymph nodes with afferent lymphangiectasia seemed to be the mechanism of diffuse lymphedema, protein-losing enteropathy, and hypoproteinemia. Whipple's disease, therefore, should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with granulomatous disease, lymphocytic myocarditis, or unusual lymphedema.
Southern JF, Moscicki RA, Magro C, Dickersin GR, Fallon JT, Bloch KJ. Lymphedema, Lymphocytic Myocarditis, and Sarcoidlike GranulomatosisManifestations of Whipple's Disease. JAMA. 1989;261(10):1467-1470. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420100103032