Dermatosis in children with oedematous malnutrition (Kwashiorkor): a review of the literature

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014 Aug;28(8):995-1001. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12452. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


Children with oedematous malnutrition, known as kwashiorkor, may develop a characteristic skin lesion, named 'Dermatosis of Kwashiorkor' (DoK). Only a few studies have been concerned with this condition, and the reason for the development of DoK remains unexplained. This study review the existing studies concerning DoK, including its clinical manifestations, histopathology, suggested pathophysiology, current treatment and prognosis for children of the age of 6 months to 5 years. Standardized clinical studies are needed to further understand the implications of DoK. Such studies would suffer from the lack of consistency concerning the terminology and scoring of the lesions in DoK. We therefore stress the need for a standardized scoring of the degree of DoK. This would facilitate valid and comparable studies and the development of better treatment for this vulnerable group of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Kwashiorkor / complications*
  • Kwashiorkor / diet therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Diseases / complications*
  • Skin Diseases / diet therapy
  • Skin Diseases / therapy