Eosinophilic fasciitis (Shulman disease)

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Aug;26(4):449-58. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2012.08.001.


The eosinophilic fasciitis (EF) is a rare connective tissue disease characterized by symmetrical and painful swelling with a progressive induration and thickening of the skin and soft tissues. The diagnosis of EF is often based on the association of characteristic skin or subcutaneous abnormalities and a thickened fascia with an inflammatory infiltration, mostly composed of lymphocytes and eosinophils. A peripheral eosinophilia is frequently present, but is not mandatory for the EF diagnosis. The diagnosis might be helped by a muscle magnetic resonance imaging which typically may evidence an increased signal intensity within the fascia and marked fascia enhancement after gadolinium administration at the acute phase of the disease. Differential diagnoses should be ruled out, including eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) after L-tryprophane ingestion, hypereosinophilic syndromes (HES), systemic sclerosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, and/or peripheral T cell lymphomas with cutaneous involvement. Due to the scarcity of the EF disease, there is no consensual therapeutic strategy. However, oral corticosteroids remain the mainstay treatment and may be associated to an immunosuppressive drug such as methotrexate in patients with morphea-like lesions or an unsatisfactory response to corticosteroids alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Edema / diagnosis
  • Eosinophilia* / diagnosis
  • Eosinophilia* / drug therapy
  • Eosinophilia* / pathology
  • Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis* / diagnosis
  • Fasciitis* / drug therapy
  • Fasciitis* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Rare Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Rare Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Rare Diseases* / pathology
  • Scleroderma, Localized / diagnosis
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilic Fasciitis