Calciphylaxis: Part I. Diagnosis and pathology

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2022 May;86(5):973-982. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.10.064. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Calciphylaxis is an uncommon but devastating disorder characterized by vascular calcification and subsequent cutaneous tissue necrosis. This results in exquisitely painful and slow healing wounds that portend exceptionally high morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis of this condition can be complicated because there are no conclusive serologic, radiographic or visual signs that this disease is manifesting. The differential of tissue necrosis is broad, and identifying calciphylaxis requires an adroit understanding of the risk factors and physical signs that should raise suspicion of this condition. Reviews on this subject are uncommon and lack directed commentary from disease experts on the best diagnostic approach for patients suffering from this disease. The goal of this article is to update practicing dermatologists on the current standard of care for calciphylaxis.

Keywords: ESRD; calciphylaxis; calcium; histopathology; uremia; vasculopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calciphylaxis* / diagnosis
  • Calciphylaxis* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / complications
  • Male
  • Necrosis
  • Skin / pathology
  • Wound Healing