Vasculopathies, cutaneous necrosis and emergency in dermatology

G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Dec;152(6):615-637. doi: 10.23736/S0392-0488.17.05727-3. Epub 2017 Jul 28.


Most emergencies in dermatology comprise a variety of entities with a usually benign course. However, vasculopathies and vasculitis are not common, but they could represent respectively 1.9% and 4.4% of these entities according to some studies of Emergency Dermatology Department. They become an important disease which has to be identified early to establish appropriate management and treatment. Some of them are well known, such as the leukocitoclastic vasculitis, Schölein-Henoch, panarteritis nodosa, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis, giant cell arteritis, cryoglobulinemic vasculitis and antiphospholipid syndrome. More frequent vasculopathies are livedoid vasculopathy, pigmented purpuric dermatosis and calciphylaxis. Less common ones are caused by interferon and cholesterol crystal embolization. Others are very infrequent as Degos disease and Sneddon Syndrome. Among the more recently described ones there are deficiency of adenosine deaminase type 2 and crystalglobulinemia. The other group is composed of vasculopathies associated to microorganism as infective endocarditis, septic vasculopathy, aspergillosis, fusariosis, strongiloidosis, ecthyma gangrenosum, lucio phenomenon of leprosy and necrotic arachnidism. Finally, among these entities we can also find diseases associated with proinflammatory stages as disseminated intravascular coagulation, myeloproliferative disorders, intravascular lymphoma, metastasis intravascular. When we face cutaneous lesions characterized by reticulated violaceous lesions, palpable purpura or cutaneous necrosis, a careful clinico-pathological correlation as well as some laboratory or radiological tests are mandatory to further delineate a diagnosis and a proper first line empirical treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology
  • Emergencies*
  • Humans
  • Necrosis
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Skin Diseases / therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / therapy
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis / physiopathology*
  • Vasculitis / therapy