Presentation of untreated systemic mastocytosis as recurrent, pulseless-electrical-activity cardiac arrests resistant to cardiac pacemaker

Joseph H. Butterfield, Catherine R. Weiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Recurrent, pulseless-electrical-activity (PEA) cardiac arrests were the novel presentation of untreated systemic mastocytosis in an 85-year-old woman who lacked cutaneous findings of mastocytosis. Despite prior implantation of a dual-chamber cardiac pacemaker 3 weeks previously for similar spells, she experienced a PEA arrest accompanied by flushing, increased urinary N-methylhistamine excretion and serum tryptase values on the day of presentation to our clinic. Bone marrow biopsy findings conducted to rule out breast cancer metastases showed 30% mast cell infiltration, aberrant expression of CD25 and a positive c-kit Asp816Val mutation. Treatment with a combination of H1 and H2 receptor blockers reduced flushing and eliminated hypotension. Maintenance medication included aspirin, cetirizine, ranitidine, montelukast, oral cromolyn sodium and an epinephrine autoinjector (as needed). At 6-month follow-up, the patient remained free of PEA arrests, flushing, or any clinical signs of mastocytosis or mast cell degranulation. PEA cardiac arrests may therefore be a presenting sign of untreated systemic mastocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014



  • Pacemaker
  • Pulseless-electrical-activity arrests
  • Systemic mastocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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