Thursday, August 27, 2015

Red Face x Two

Two recent Red Face patients

1) 27 yo woman with few year history of unilateral erythema of right cheek. No papules when initially seen.  Erythema waxes and wanes -- has been worse by history.
Dx:  Unilateral Rosacea, Demodeciasis, other?

Rx?  I may start with doxycycline, cold compresses, ? ivermectin

2) 57 yo man with a long history of psoriasis.  Was using clobetasol ointment and clobetasol scalp solution for a number of years.  Last seen > 1 year ago.  He was also on methotrexate 10 mg per week.  Facial erythema and papules started in the past few months.  He also noted easy bruising, and loss of muscle mass in brachial area.  BP 160/100.  Exam also shows mild truncal obesity and ecchymoses.

Dx: Rosacea, steroid rosacea secondary to clobetasol scalp and body (Red Face Syndrome), Iatrogenic Cushing's Syndrome, Cushing's Disease

Plan: CBC, Chemistries, 8 am and 4 pm serum cortisol.  Endocrine consult.
Macrocytosis, plt 77,000
Alk phos 425 (18 - 210),  SGOT 182 (15 - 37)
Serum Cortisol a.m. 24, p.m. 11  AM ( 4-22),  (PM 3 - 17)

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Unilateral Facial Erythema

The patient is a 27 yo woman with a 3 year history of facial erythema, restricted, for the most part to the right cheek.  She is a pharmacist assistant, takes no meds by mouth other than thyroid.  She took doxycyclinc  a few years back but stopped because of G.I. upset and topical metronidazole was not helpful

Exam showed dramatic erythema of the right cheek and malar eminence.  There are no papules or pustules.  The left side of the face appears normal.

Clinical Images:

Diagnosis: Unilateral Telangiectatic Rosacea or Unilateral Facial Telangiectasia

1. Unilateral Swelling and Erythema of the Face.
Burgess N. Proc R Soc Med. 1938 Dec;32(2):85-6.

2. Unilateral demodectic rosacea.  Shelley WB1, Shelley ED, Burmeister V.  J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989 May;20(5 Pt 2):915-7.
Abstract: A unilateral rosacea-like chronic dermatitis of the right side of the face was shown to harbor innumerable Demodex folliculorum and D. brevis. Treatment with oral metronidazole suppressed the dermatitis but did not significantly reduce the Demodex population. Treatment with topical crotamiton eliminated the Demodex and was curative. These observations support the view that D. folliculorum and D. brevis may be pathogenic when they are present in extremely large numbers.

We could find no useful articles on unilateral rosacea without papules or pustules. Perhaps, even so, a scraping for demodex mites should be done. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Subungual Pigmentation

The patient is a 49 yo woman who noted a discolored right great toe nail for ~ a week.  After a web search she became quite agitated and presented at the office as a walk-in patient.  The area was painless and there was no history of trauma.

O/E:  The patient is an anxious-appearing Korean woman. There was a dark purple area at the proximal and lateral portion of the right great toe nail.  Dermoscopically no brown or black color could be seen.  The nail was scraped down and the base appeared reddish.

Unfortunately the second photograph is a bit blurry.

Impression:  She short history and the pigment suggest subungual hematoma.  It would be unusual for a subungual melanoma to present this rapidly.

Plan:  I will follow this.  I expect it will take many months for this to grow out.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

34 yo woman with micropapules

The patient is a 34 yo woman with a 1 year history of a slightly pruritic eruption on her upper arms, elbows, mid back.  Her health is good and she takes no meds p.o.  She commutes between Seoul, New York City and Paris for her work in fashion.

The lesions are symmetrically placed in these areas.

Pathology:  Two 3 mm punch biopsies taken.

There is an interstitial proliferation of lymphocytes and histiocytes forming granulomas with focally increased dermal mucin and central necrobiosis, and with islands of intervening normal dermal collagen and a mild superficial and mid perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate with occasional plasma cells. These findings support the histologic diagnosis of granuloma annulare.

Diagnosis: Granuloma annulare

The clinical picture is unusual, but in retrospect, it fits.  Perhaps, this is an example of generalized G.a.  The patient is otherwise healthy but we have no recent lab tests.  It may be prudent to obtain A1c, chemistry and lipid profile.

What are your thoughts?

1. Remission of generalized erythematous granuloma annulare after improvement of hyperlipidemia and review of the Japanese literature.
Watanabe S et.a.l  Dermatol Pract Concept. 2014 Jan 31;4(1):97-100.  Free Full Text Online

Monday, August 03, 2015

Splinter Hemorrhages

The patient is a 48 year-old woman with a two week history of splinter hemorrhages in all ten finger nails.  Her toe nails are obscured with nail polish.  She has a history of appendiceal cancer, has had two surgeries and is left with residual disease.  She is being treated with leucovoran, avastin and 5FU.  She feels well.  No fever, chills or night sweats.  She has had recent normal cardiac echos.

Diagnosis and Discussion:  It's hard not to conclude that these are typical splinter hemorrhages and that she needs to be worked up for subacute bacterial endocarditis.  Some antineoplastic agents, such as paclitaxel, can cause splinter hemorrhages but I could find not reference to the drugs she is on.  The splinter hemorrhages of SBE are more often proximal and all of these are distal, arguing for a relationship with her chemotherapy; but appropriate blood cultures seem indicated.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

To Treat or Not to Treat: that is the question

Elani Linos and colleagues wrote a milestone paper on the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) that was published in JAMA – Internal Medicine in June 2013. In it, they stated:

“Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common cancer and predominantly affects older patients. Because NMSCs do not typically affect survival or short-term quality of life, the decision about whether and how to treat patients with limited life expectancy (LLE) is challenging, especially for asymptomatic tumors.

“The current standard of care in the United States is to treat NMSCs, and no guidelines exist about whether physicians should consider patient age or functional status in choosing treatments.  Treatment decisions for patients with NMSC with LLE require consideration that the benefits of treatment may not occur within the patient's
remaining life span, but any risks are immediate.”

We saw two such patients recently in our dermatology practice.  They are presented for your thoughts and discussion.

1. The patient is a 94 yo woman, status post CVA (12/24/13) with right hemiparesis.  She has a two year history of a rodent ulcer on the right nasolabial fold measuring 2.4 x 1.4 cm.  It itches and she picks it.  Biopsy shows “infiltrating basal cell carcinioma.”  She is a retired executive secretary, never married with no close relatives nearby.  Mentally, she is alert and oriented.  We discussed active surveillance, surgery and radiotherapy.  She is confined in a nursing home and was not keen on having XRT considering the number of treatments.

2.  This 89 yo man has a tumor of the mid upper lip for ~ 10 months.  The 1.4 cm in diameter lesion is firm with rolled borders.  Clinically, this is BCC, but it has not yet been biopsied.  His general health is good, but he has moderately advanced dementia and lives independently with his wife.  The couple have children who live at some remove.  We discussed active surveillance, XRT and surgery.  The latter would be fairly simple; but we recognize that the tumor may not ever significantly impact on his quality of life or longevity.

Discussion:  Both of these lesions could be treated or watched.  Lesion # 2 would be easy to excise and that may make management easier.  Excision of lesion #1 would entail a long trip for micrographic surgery which is difficult logistically.  In our opinion, how to proceed with these cases is a value judgement and input from the patient and/or the family is important.

Dr. Linos’ article (1) is helpful but each case presents unique management quandaries.  It has been said that “often it is more important to treat the patient with the disease, than it is to treat the disease the patient has.”  These two cases are examples of this conundrum.

An additional thought:   Topical imiquimod can be helpful in the management of superficial and nodular basal cell carcinomas.(2)  The marked inflammatory response is often difficult for patients to tolerate, but less frequent applications may allow for palliation and slowing of tumor progression.

You thoughts will be appreciated.

1. Treatment of nonfatal conditions at the end of life: nonmelanoma skin cancer.  Linos E, Parvataneni R, Stuart SE, Boscardin WJ, Landefeld CS, Chren MM.  JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jun 10;173(11):1006-12.
Available Free Full Text.

2.  Surgical excision versus imiquimod 5% cream for nodular and superficial basal-cell carcinoma (SINS): a multicentre, non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial.
Bath-Hextall F, et. al.  Lancet Oncol. 2014 Jan;15(1):96-105.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Sacral Herpes Simplex

The patient is a 77-year-old woman who presents for evaluation of a recurrent localized blistering eruption on the right buttock.  This has happened off and on for 2-3 years.  Before this, she noticed a pain in the right buttock to hip that was attributed to some form of trauma and has had physical therapy for the pain.

EXAMINATION:  The examination shows grouped vesicles on an erythematous base on the right buttock. 

Clinical Picture:

Lab: Tzanck smear was positive for multinucleated giant cells. 

IMPRESSION:  Sacral herpes simplex.  Her buttock and hip pain may be related.  

PLAN:  Acyclovir 400 mg three times a day for seven to ten days.  If her hip pain improves, I would continue the acyclovir for a few months at 400 mg twice to three times a day to see if that impacts the chronic hip pain for which she has had physical therapy without much relief.

Discussion:  Sacral herpes simplex is seen with some regularity, although it has not been well-studied.  In 1974, Lenzer and Conant mentioned sciatica with sacral herpes simplex. I have seen a few memorable cases over the years.  One, in particular was a 70 yo man with sciatica and urinary symptoms that resolved completely when his recurrent sacral HSV was treated with acyclovir and he was maintained on suppressive therapy.

Patient reports:  I completed the full ten day regimen of acyclovir with apparent success - healing of the lesion and elimination  of the ache in my buttock which I had thought was a lingering result of the fall that I had almost two years ago. I am wondering if I should continue with prophylactic use of the acyclovir.

1. Neuralgia in Recurrent Herpes Simplex
Robert B. Layzer, MD; Marcus A. Conant, MD
Arch Neurol. 1974;31(4):233-237.
ABSTRACT: Five patients with recurrent herpes simplex of the skin had unusual neuralgic pains preceding the eruptions by 24 hours or more. Although prodromal neuralgia is an uncommon feature of recurrent herpes, about 15 similar cases have been reported previously. The pain is often diffuse and aching in character and, in contrast with herpes zoster, leaves no sensory or motor deficit. Stereotyped cycles of pain and herpes simplex may occur repeatedly for as long as 20 years. The fact that pain precedes the eruption supports the theory that a persistent latent infection of sensory ganglia is activated during recurrences of herpes simplex.

2. [Recurrent herpes with neuralgia and zones of cutaneous hypoesthesia].
[Article in French]
de la Sayette V, er. Al
Abstract: A 52-year old man presented with recurrent Herpes simplex of the thigh and buttock of 30 years duration. The skin eruption was preceded by pain and sciatica. Surgical excision of the skin area involved modified the site of recurrence. During an attack, the patient developed severe pain and hypoaesthesia in the left half of his chest. The skin lesions were unmodified, and a type 2 Herpes simplex virus was isolated from a vesicle. A clinical examination performed 5 weeks later showed reduced sensitivity to pin prick in the previously painful D5 to D12 territory. Three points are of interest in this case: the site of recurrence moved after surgical excision, pain extended over a wide area and, most of all, persistent hypoaesthesia occurred during a recurrence.

3. Although this review (below) does not mentione HSV neuropathy, I suppose it belongs in this group.

Infectious neuropathies.
Sindic CJ1. Curr Opin Neurol. 2013 Oct;26(5):510-5
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Infectious neuropathies are heterogeneous neuropathies with multiple causes. They still represent an important world health burden and some of them have no current available therapy.
RECENT FINDINGS: Leprosy incidence has decreased by 50% during the last years, but leprosy-related neuropathies still cause severe disability. The pure neuritic leprosy is a diagnostic challenge that may require nerve biopsy or nerve aspiration cytology. The treatment itself may lead to a 'reversal reaction', which further causes injuries to the nerve. HCV-related neuropathies may be related or not to the presence of cryoglobulins. The absence of vasculitis, the most frequent form is a peripheral sensory neuropathy involving small nerve fibers, and more accurately diagnosed by pain-related evoked potentials. HIV-related neuropathy has become the major neurological complication of HIV infection. Both HIV-induced neuropathy and antiretroviral toxic neuropathy are clinically indistinguishable. The existence of an isolated chronic polyneuropathy due to Borrelia burgdorferi remains highly controversial. Lastly, an active infectious ganglioneuritis caused by varicella zoster virus, producing shingles, is the most frequent infectious neuropathy in the world and may cause various neurological complications. Zoster sine herpete remains frequently undiagnosed.
SUMMARY: Recent data have improved our knowledge and diagnostic tools of infectious neuropathies. Treatment of the injured nerves is not yet available, and prevention and rapid diagnosis remain the main priorities for the clinician.