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[Pemphigoid gestationis: a study of 20 cases].

INTRODUCTION: Pemphigoid gestationis is a bullous autoimmune sub-epidermal dermatosis, occurring during pregnancy and/or postpartum. The objective of our study was to define the epidemio-clinical profile, the histopathological and immunopathological features, the treatment and the course of pemphigoid gestationis in Tunisian patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study concerning the cases of pemphigoid gestationis recorded between 1989 and 2003 in the dermatology department in La Rabta Hospital in Tunis. The patients were included according to clinical, histopathological and immunopathological criteria.

RESULTS: We retained 20 patients: 15 multiparae and 5 primiparae. The average age at onset was 29. The first clinical signs appeared in the 3rd trimester in 60 p. 100 of all cases. Clinically, the urticarial patches were noticed in 90 p. 100 of all cases and blisters in 65 p. 100 of the cases. The eruption was located mainly on the trunk and the limbs. The face was affected in 7 cases, the mucous membranes in 3 cases, the palms in 2 cases and the soles in 1 case. Cutaneous histologic examination revealed a sub-epidermal blister in 11 cases and a lymphohistiocyte infiltrate in all cases. Direct immunofluorescence showed a linear deposition of the third component of the complement along the basement membrane zone in all cases. Fetal prognosis was assessed in 13 cases: 1 fetal death, 1 still-born, 3 miscarriages, 1 anencephaly and 2 cases of transit bullous affection in the new-born.

DISCUSSION: Our results are similar to those in the literature, but with some particular aspects: the late onset of the pemphigoid gestationis in the course of the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, the frequent involvement of the face and the mucous membranes and the absence of the two main fetal risks: prematurity and hypotrophy. Moreover, we underline the efficiency of topical class I corticosteroids in the treatment of pemphigoid gestationis.

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