Perinatal management of harlequin ichthyosis: a case report and literature review

J Perinatol. 2010 Jan;30(1):66-72. doi: 10.1038/jp.2009.100.


Harlequin ichthyosis (HI) is a rare and severe form of congenital ichthyosis. Linked to deletion and truncation mutations of a keratinocyte lipid transporter, HI is characterized by diffuse epidermal hyperkeratinization and defective desquamation. At birth, the HI phenotype is striking with thick hyperkeratotic plate-like scales with deep dermal fissures, severe ectropion and eclabium, among other findings. Over the first months of life, the hyperkeratotic covering is shed, revealing a diffusely erythematous, scaly epidermis, which persists for the remainder of the patient's life. Although HI infants have historically succumbed in the perinatal period related to their profound epidermal compromise, the prognosis of HI infants has vastly improved over the past 20 years. Here, we report a case of HI treated with acitretin, focusing on the multi-faceted management of the disease in the inpatient setting. A review of the literature of the management of HI during the perinatal period is also presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acitretin / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Ectropion / congenital
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis, Lamellar / drug therapy*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Referral and Consultation


  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Acitretin