Thursday, January 19, 2017

Raynaud's and Digital Ulcerations in a Smoker

The patient is a 63-year-old waitress who presents for evaluation of painful fingertip ulcerations that have been present for ten months. She has been seen by a number of physicians including the Wound Care Center. Nothing has helped.  She has had Raynaud’s Disease for 7 – 8 years.  She has been a heavy smoker for decades and has cut down from two packs per day to 1/2 ppd a month or so ago.

Medications: Nifedipine for her fingertip ulcers without any help.  She’s also taking lisinopril and carvedilol for hypertension. Her ulcerations were treated with Bactrim and oral clindamycin without effect.

The Examination shows a pleasant articulate woman. She has markedly erythematous hands that appear somewhat puffy. There are two purulent subungual digital ulcers.

Clinical Photos: (1/16/17)
The erythema was quite dramatic.  I should have taken my associate's hand next to the patient's hand for comparison.

Raynaud’s disease with ulcerations. Should we consider progression to scleroderma?  Could this be Buerger’s Diasease?. Her history of smoking may be significant.

Raynaud's occurs in two main types:
  • Primary Raynaud's is the most common form of the disorder and is not connected to an underlying disease or related medical problem. It is also called Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Secondary Raynaud's is also called Raynaud's phenomenon. This form is caused by an underlying, or related, problem. Secondary Raynaud's is less common than the primary form, but it tends to be a more serious disorder. Symptoms of secondary Raynaud's often first appear at later ages — around 40 — while people with the primary form often see symptoms earlier.

PLAN: I had a long discussion with the patient. We talked about the need to stop smoking and she promised to do so. A prescription for Bactroban ointment was given and she will be seen back in one week.

With her permission, she is being presented on VGRD.


1. Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Aug-Sep;140(8-9):549-54. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

[Minimal work-up for Raynaud syndrome: a consensus report. Microcirculation working group of the Société française de médecine vasculaire]. [in French]

Pistorius MA1, Carpentier PH; le groupe de travail « Microcirculation » de la Société française de médecine vasculaire.

Abstract: About ten to fifteen percent of the French population suffer from Raynaud's phenomenon. Most of the time, it is considered as primary Raynaud's phenomenon, without underlying disease. The aim of this expert consensus from the "microcirculation group" for the French Society of Vascular Medicine and the French Society for Microcirculation, was to define clinical guidelines in patients consulting for Raynaud's phenomenon. The recommended minimal screening includes clinical examination, nailfold capillaroscopy and antinuclear antibodies. In particular, the aim of this screening is to identify patients with a significant risk for scleroderma, who would need a careful follow up.
2. A portable dermatoscope for easy, rapid examination of periungual nailfold capillary changes in patients with systemic sclerosis.
Muroi E, et. al
Rheumatol Int. 2011 Dec;31(12):1601-6. doi: 10.1007/s00296-010-1532-0. Epub 2010 May 27.
Abstract: excerpt “The presence of two or more enlarged capillaries in one or more fingers showed 83.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity for SSc. Among patients with SSc with anti-topoisomerase I antibody, the disease duration correlated negatively with the dermatoscopic number of enlarged capillaries and hemorrhages. Dermatoscope allows the easy and rapid identification of capillary nailfold morphological changes in SSc and should be routinely used for diagnosing SSc.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

Neonatal Acne

Presented by Dr. Henry Foong, Ipoh Malaysia

21 day old boy
normal full term delivery
breast feeding
1 week history, initially forehead then spread too cheeks and nose area

mother is healthy and asymptomatic.

O/E: symmetrical/bilateral vesicles/ pustules/ papules/comedone on affected areas
 Dx: neonatal acne/ cephalic pustulosis
A benign condition.  i think it revolves with our treatment

Treatment:  reassurance!!

Comment by a pediatric dermatology colleague: "Neonatal acne is a common newborn eruption, and it can be seen in about 20% of healthy babies. The scalp, face, neck and back and chest are commonly affected, and open comedones are usually absent as this finding would make one consider infantile acne. The lesions are usually not present at birth, but typically appear within the first 2-4 weeks of life, and generally improve by about 4-6 months of age. This condition is self-limited, however, one can consider topical antifungal or low potency topical corticosteroid if the parents seek for medical treatment. Usually reassurance would comfort the parents." [The role of P. ovale is considered]


Neonatal Malassezia furfur pustulosis.
Rapelanoro R, et. al.
Arch Dermatol. 1996 Feb;132(2):190-3.
Papulopustular eruptions of the face in neonates are frequently referred to as neonatal acne or sebaceous miliaria. Our findings suggest that there is an association between this type of eruption and Malassezia furfur infection.
Direct examination of pustule smears showed M furfur yeasts in eight of 13 cases involving neonates with erythema and papulopustules of the face, neck, and scalp (mean age at onset, 22 days [range, 7 to 30 days]). The pustules were predominantly neutrophilic. Treatment with 2% ketoconazole cream applied topically twice daily was effective in 1 week.
Malassezia furfur is frequently associated with a common nonfollicular pustulosis of the newborn, probably improperly termed neonatal acne.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Aquagenic Wrinkling of the Palms

The patient is a 19 yo woman who presents with a four month history of a peculiar eruption of her palms after showering.  She spends 15 - 20 minutes in the shower.  The process resolves within a 1/2 hour.  It is mildly pruritic.

O/E:  The eruption is comprised of 1 - 2 mm in diameter white papules, discrete and confluent, on the palms.  We demonstrated these lesions in the office and they cleared within 10 minutes.  Here feet are unaffected, by history.

Clinical Photos provided by patient: (directly after shower, and when returned to baseline.

 Diagnosis:  Aquagenic Wrinkling of the Palms

Question:  The literature states that this is more common in people with cystic fibrosis and CF carriers.  This patient has no history to suggest CF.  Should genetic testing be offerred? 

Reference: There are many case reports; but the Dermnet site is a great overview. 

CF Genetic Testing. (from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation web site)
In the United States, the number of people who carry a CF gene mutation is about:
  • 1 in 29 Caucasian-Americans
  • 1 in 46 Hispanic-Americans
  • 1 in 65 African-Americans
  • 1 in 90 Asian-Americans

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pretty, Ugly Thing

This 64 yo light-complected carpenter noticed a few rough spots on his chest. Since he vacations in Mexico two to three times a years, he is worried re: skin cancer.

A skin exam showed a 4 mm nodular BCC on his chest and a few hypertrophic AKs on the chest.  An incidental finding (that he was unaware of) was a 6 mm in diameter irregularly pigmented papule on the right upper back.  The dermatoscopic image is ugly and worrisome.
He is scheduled for an excisional biopsy.

This case is very similar to that presented on VGRD last week.  Therefore, this patient probably has a SSM that is < 1 mm thick.  We will see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Pigmented Lesion

Thiss 56 year-old man was brought into the office by his wife who has noticed a new pigmentedlesion on his mid-back for around a year.  He did not see the point in coming in, but she made the appointment and came in with him.

The exam showed a 1.1 cm pigmented nodule with a play of color and irregular borders.  The dermatoscopic exam shows whitish areas, black areas, and pigment dots (among other things).

Clinically, I thought this was a superficially spreading melanoma.  I could not be 100% sure it was not a seborrheic keratosis.

An excisional biopsy was done.  Pathology will be added in a few days.
Pathology:  Superficial spreading melanoma, at greatest, 0.68 mm thick.
I will recommend a WLE.  Not further studies.

Note:  Often, a wife will make the appointment for her husband who is reluctant to see the physician.  This patient insisted on going to work as a pipe-fitter after the excision.  When a wife finds a lesion on her skin and asks her husband to take a look; he often says to her, "If your worried, see a doctor."

Thursday, December 08, 2016

A Case for Diagnosis

History: The patient is an otherwise healthy 67 year-old writer with a three month history of an intensely pruritic papular and pustular dermatitis in an otherwise.  He’s been on Welbutrin, HCTZ and Lipitor for years.   Previously treatments with triamcinolone 0.1% ointment and prednisone for two weeks were not helpful. 

O/E:  There are hundreds of 2 – 3 mm erythematous papules on arms, legs, torso, scalp.  Face spared.  No lesions on hands, feet or genitalia.

Clinical Images:


Lab:  CBC, Chemistries normal.  Wound culure grew 2+ SAUR sensitive to everything.
The patient was treated with Keflex 250 mg qid for a week and Prednisone starting at 40 mg a day.  He cleared quickly, but when he stopped the prednisone after ~ 3 weeks, the eruption and pruritus recurred.  The new lesions are distinct erythematous papules mostly on the torso.  Background looks normal.
Thoughts:  Could this be "subacute prurigo" othewise known as Itchy Red Bump Disease?  I will have slides reviewed and offer another biopsy to the patient.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cutaneous Sarcoidal Granulomas

thinking outside of the box

57 year-old woman with a one-year history of an eruption on arms and legs

This 57 y.o. woman first noticed asymptomatic, erythematous patches on arms and legs a year ago.  She is in otherwise good health and was taking Losartan/ HCTZ and Pravastatin for hypertension and cholesterol by mouth.  She lived in Texas for five years in the 1980s, but otherwise spent her entire life in Western Massachusetts.

In September 2016, biopsies obtained from the right arm and left leg showed sarcoidal granulomatous dermatitis.

Her skin lesions, mostly on the arms and legs, are few and scattered. They are erythematous, slightly scaly, ill-defined plaques with irregular borders.

Photomicrographs graphs and interpretations courtesy of Dr. Deon Wolpowitz
Boston University, Department of Dermatology
The specimen exhibits superficial and deep, nodular well-formed collections of epithelioid histiocytes and multinucleated giant cells forming granulomas with sparse to mild lymphocytic rims and a moderate superficial and mid perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate. The histologic differential diagnosis includes sarcoidosis, a foreign body reaction, and infectious etiologies including mycobacterial infections. Polariscopic examination is negative. Fite stain is negative for mycobacteria. PAS stain is negative for fungal organisms.

Lab:  CBC and chemistries were normal, as was her chest x-ray.

Discussion:  This woman has no risk factors for sarcoidosis, but did spend five years in a geographic setting where sarcoid is more commonly seen. The only thing we came up with was that she was using a cat litter with silica in it and there is one reference in the literature to that being associated with sarcoidosis.

1. Cat litter is a possible trigger for sarcoidosis.
Drent M, Wijnen PA, Boots AW, Bast A. Eur Respir J. 2012 Jan;39(1):221-2.  Free Full Text.  This is the fascinating report of a single case of pulmonary  sarcoidosis that appeared to be causally related to silica containing kitty litter.

2. Mahony J, Helms SE, Brodell RT.  The sarcoidal granuloma: A unifying hypothesis for an enigmatic response. Clin Dermatol. 2014 Sep-Oct; 32(5):654-9
Abstract: Although the cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, there is growing support for the concept that sarcoidal granulomas result from a hypersensitivity reaction producing a nonspecific response to an extrinsic or intrinsic (autoimmune) antigen in genetically susceptible individuals. The immune milieu associated with these antigens, localized in a specific cutaneous area, produces a variant of Ruocco's "immunocompromised district." This may explain the predilection for sarcoidal granulomas in association with foreign bodies, tattoos, herpes zoster-affected dermatomes, and scars. Similar antigenic stimulation produces sarcoidal granulomas surrounding internal tumors. Finally, systemic sarcoidosis, as manifested by hilar adenopathy, may reflect the lymphatic spread of foreign antigens.