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Skin Infection by Coagulase Negative Staphylococci as a Potential Triggering Factor for Cutaneous Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis

Author(s): Rene Thonhofer | Markus Trummer | Cornelia Siegel | Elisabeth Uitz

Journal: Clinical Medicine : Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders
ISSN 1178-1149

Volume: 1;
Start page: 9;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: staphylococcus | leukocytoclastic vasculitis | superantigens | hypersensitivity angiitis

Introduction: Leukocytoclastic vasculitis (LV) is a necrotising vasculitis of the small dermal blood vessels, clinically presented as palpable purpura. It is a heterogeneous disorder often limited to the skin but which may involve other organs. LV might be a serious drug reaction, caused by bacterial and viral infections, or less commonly a manifestation of systemic vasculitic syndromes.Case reports: Three patients were admitted to our institution with petechiae and palpable purpura. The cutanous lesions were affecting the lower limbs and in one patient also the upper extremities and the trunk. The diagnosis of leukocytoclastic vasculitis was made based on clinical and histopathological findings. Systemic involvement was excluded, as was connective tissue disease. Clinical examination revealed ulcers on the legs of each patient. Smears from those ulcers were taken and investigated for micro organisms. Culture results showed infection with coagulase negative staphylococci. Systemic signs of sepsis were absent; therefore the infections were treated locally. Two patients developed necrotic blisters during the first week of hospitalisation. To avoid further vasculitic complications steroids were administered parenterally and LV lesions diminished in all patients within ten days.Conclusion: Drugs and connective tissue disease were ruled out as triggering factors of LV in the patients reported on. Therefore, it was concluded that superantigens produced by the coagulase negative staphylococci were responsible for LV.
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