Neutrophilic dermatosis of the dorsal hands: Pustular vasculitis revisited

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Abstract

An entity termed "pustular vasculitis of the hands" was recently described. Patients with this condition presented with low-grade fevers and erythematous plaques, pustules, and bullae limited to the dorsal hands and fingers, which were characterized histologically by a dense neutrophilic infiltrate and leukocytoclastic vasculitis. We describe patients with a similar clinical presentation, but who lacked vasculitis on biopsy findings. We describe 3 otherwise asymptomatic patients with hemorrhagic bullae, plaques, and pustules solely on the dorsal hands. Biopsy specimens showed a neutrophilic infiltrate and leukocytoclasis, but no necrotizing vasculitis, and were reminiscent of Sweet's neutrophilic dermatoses. In our patients, corticosteroids or dapsone led to clearing of the lesions, and small maintenance doses of dapsone prevented their recurrence. Our 3 patients had clinical lesions similar to those termed pustular vasculitis of the hands, but which lacked leukocytoclastic vasculitis on biopsy findings. Because of histologic findings and a therapeutic response more characteristic of Sweet's syndrome, we propose the term neutrophilic dermatosis of the dorsal hands. In addition, low-dose dapsone is proposed as a possible first-line therapy in this condition, especially in those with recurrent disease. (J Am Acad Dermatol 2000;43:870-4.)

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