Subcutaneous fat necrosis, hypercalcemia, and prostaglandin E

Pediatr Dermatol. 1995 Mar;12(1):43-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.1995.tb00123.x.


We present two patients with subcutaneous fat necroses (SCFN) in whom endocrinologic studies revealed an association with elevated prostaglandin E (PGE) levels. A boy born after prolonged labor complicated by meconium aspiration developed erythematous, indurated plaques over the back, arms, buttocks, and cheeks at 4 days of age. A biopsy specimen of involved skin showed panniculitis with foci of necrotic adipocytes containing radially arranged, needle-shaped clefts and a granulomatous infiltrate in the septae. Laboratory studies revealed hypercalcemia of 13.6 mg/dl (normal 8.8-10.1 mg/dl), elevated 1.25-1.25(OH)2D3, and increased urinary excretion of PGE2. The child was hospitalized and treated with systemic steroids and diuretics, with resolution of SCFN and hypercalcemia. The second patient was a girl born with cyanotic heart disease. A diagnosis of Ebstein anomaly was made, and intravenous PGE1 was started to keep patent the ductus arteriosus. Four days later erythematous, indurated plaques were noted on the knee, back, and anterior chest. A skin biopsy specimen revealed SCFN. There was no associated laboratory abnormality. On discontinuing PGE1, no new lesions formed and the existing panniculitis resolved. These two cases demonstrate the association between SCFN and elevated PGE levels (endogenous in patient 1, exogenous in patient 2). No previous reports of SCFN after the administration of PGE1 have appeared in the literature.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Ebstein Anomaly / complications
  • Ebstein Anomaly / diagnosis
  • Fat Necrosis / complications
  • Fat Necrosis / diagnosis*
  • Fat Necrosis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / complications
  • Hypercalcemia / diagnosis*
  • Hypercalcemia / drug therapy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Panniculitis / complications
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Prostaglandins E / blood*
  • Prostaglandins E / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Tests


  • Prostaglandins E
  • Furosemide
  • Prednisone