Severe and life-threatening COVID-19-related mucocutaneous eruptions: A systematic review

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Dec;75(12):e14720. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14720. Epub 2021 Sep 28.


Objectives: Earlier diagnosis and the best management of virus-related, drug-related or mixed severe potentially life-threatening mucocutaneous reactions of COVID-19 patients are of great concern. These patients, especially hospitalised cases, are usually in a complicated situation (because of multi-organ failures), which makes their management more challenging. In such consultant cases, achieving by the definite beneficial management strategies that therapeutically address all concurrent comorbidities are really hard to reach or even frequently impossible.

Methods: According to the lack of any relevant systematic review, we thoroughly searched the databases until 5 October 2020 and finally found 57 articles including 93 patients. It is needed to know clinical presentations of these severe skin eruptions, signs and symptoms of COVID in these patients, time of skin rash appearance, classifying drug-related or virus-related skin lesions, classifying the type of skin rash, patients' outcome and concurrent both COVID-19 therapy and skin rash treatment.

Result: Severe and potential life-threatening mucocutaneous dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19 usually may be divided into three major categories: virus-associated, drug-associated, and those with uncertainty about the exact origin. Angioedema, vascular lesions, toxic shock syndrome, erythroderma, DRESS, haemorrhagic bulla, AGEP, EM, SJS and TEN, generalised pustular figurate erythema were the main entities found as severe dermatologic reactions in all categories.

Conclusion: We can conclude vascular injuries may be the most common cause of severe dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19, which is concordant with many proposed hypercoagulation tendencies and systemic inflammatory response syndrome as one of the most important pathomechanisms of COVID-19 so the skin may show these features in various presentations and degrees.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Erythema
  • Exanthema*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome*