A Case Report of Generalized Pustulosis With Systemic Manifestations Requiring Burn Intensive Care Unit Admission


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Abstract

Not infrequently patients are transferred to a burn center with the diagnosis of toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Not all cases of generalized erythema and skin sloughing represent TEN. Acute generalized pustular psoriasis (AGPP) of the von Zumbusch type and acute generalized exanthematic pustulosis (AGEP) are two rare skin diseases that can also present with widespread erythema and skin sloughing. We present the case of a 55 year old morbidly obese woman with a history of severe psoriatic arthritis treated in our burn unit for generalized pustulosis, erythema, and skin sloughing. This was accompanied by respiratory failure, hypotension, acute renal failure, and elevated direct bilirubin. Skin biopsy narrowed the differential diagnosis to AGPP and AGEP. Her skin sloughing was treated as second degree burns with petrolatum gauze and mupirocin ointment. She required intubation, aggressive fluid resuscitation and inotropic support. She recovered with these measures over the course of 1 week. Like TEN, AGPP, and AGEP can involve the skin to an extent requiring burn intensive care admission. Patients can present on rare occasions with multi-system failure. We would like to raise the awareness of burn specialists regarding these rare diseases. They should be distinguished from TEN, as they tend to have better prognosis than TEN and their management can be different.

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