Rare Immunology News

Disease Profile

Intestinal lymphangiectasia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset

All ages





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable



Intestinal lymphangiectasia is a rare digestive disorder characterized by abnormally enlarged lymph vessels supplying the lining of the small intestine. Affected people may experience intermittent diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the limbs and abdominal discomfort. Intestinal lymphangiectasia can be congenital (also called primary intestinal lymphangiectasia or Waldmann disease) in which case it affects children and young adults (mean age of onset, 11 years); it can also be associated with a variety of other conditions and affect older adults. Treatment generally involves control of symptoms with dietary and/or behavioral modifications and the use of certain medications.[1][2]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Abnormality of the lymphatic system
Decreased circulating antibody level
Watery stool
Decreased blood lymphocyte number
Low lymphocyte number

[ more ]

Intestinal malabsorption
Pedal edema
Fluid accumulation in lower limbs
Lower leg swelling

[ more ]

30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Abnormal blistering of the skin
Blistering, generalized

[ more ]

Growth delay
Delayed growth
Growth deficiency
Growth failure
Growth retardation
Poor growth
Retarded growth

[ more ]

Low blood calcium levels
Immunologic hypersensitivity
Prominent floating ribs
Skin ulcer
Open skin sore
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
Constrictive pericarditis
Pleural effusion
Fluid around lungs
Thickened skin
Thick skin
Visual impairment
Impaired vision
Loss of eyesight
Poor vision

[ more ]



Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • The Merck Manual provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
    • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • The Merck Manual for health care professionals provides information on Intestinal lymphangiectasia.
      • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
      • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Intestinal lymphangiectasia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Nazer H. Intestinal Lymphangiectasia. Medscape Reference. December 19, 2014; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/179571-overview. Accessed 10/6/2015.
        2. Vladan Milovic, MD; Richard J Grand, MD. Protein-losing gastroenteropathy. UpToDate. September 2015; Accessed 10/6/2015.