Pyoderma Gangrenosum: A Critical Appraisal


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Abstract

GENERAL PURPOSE:To provide information about pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), including pathophysiology, diagnostic criteria, and treatment.TARGET AUDIENCE:This continuing education activity is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.LEARNING OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES:After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:Recognize the pathophysiology of PG.Select the diagnostic criteria for PG.Identify the treatments available for PG.Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is an uncommon cutaneous disease, presenting with recurrent painful ulcerations most commonly on the lower extremities. The diagnosis is made according to a typical presentation, skin lesion morphology, skin biopsy, histopathology, and the exclusion of other etiologies. Classically, PG presents with painful ulcers with well-defined violaceous borders; other variants including bullous, pustular, and vegetative/granulomatous can also occur. Treatment of PG involves a combination of topical and systemic anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications, wound care, antimicrobial agents for secondary infections, and treatment of the underlying etiology. This article is a continuing education review of the literature with a focus on the clinical application of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this challenging disease.

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