Erythroderma in adults: a report of 80 cases

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BackgroundErythroderma is a generalized erythema of the skin accompanied by a variable degree of scaling. However, most of the published series originate from Western countries. There is only one report from Africa, conducted in Dakar in 1979. The aim of our study was to provide information about this condition in our country.Patients and methodsOur study was retrospective, dealing with 80 erythrodermic adults, examined between January 1981 and December 2000. Patient information included clinical, laboratory, histopathologic and therapeutic data. We also noted patients' outcomes within an average follow-up period of 30 months. Thus, we calculated the mortality rate and estimated the probability of survival without relapses according to the Kaplan-Meier method.ResultsThe frequency of erythroderma in our dermatology department was 0.3. The sex ratio (male/female) was 2.2. The average age of our patients was 53.78 ± 18 years. Previous history of skin disease was found in 49/80 patients (61.2%) and 32 of them were suffering from psoriasis. Hyperthermia was significantly associated with drug reactions (P = 0.013). Hypereosinophilia was not a specific finding. The mortality rate was higher than that of an age-matched population.ConclusionAdult erythroderma is a rare condition. Its most common cause in our study was psoriasis. No cases of atopic dermatitis were found. Prognosis was adversely affected by the presence of erythroderma.

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