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Idiopathic chilblains

Shraddha Prakash, Michael H Weisman
American Journal of Medicine 2009, 122 (12): 1152-5

BACKGROUND: Chilblains is a benign condition infrequently encountered in clinical practice; its resemblance to vasculitis or peripheral thromboemboli can often result in an extensive and unnecessary diagnostic work-up.

METHOD: Three cases of chilblains seen by our Rheumatology service, along with 113 documented cases, were reviewed.

RESULTS: Chilblains is characterized by painful red-to-purple papular lesions involving the acral surface of fingers or toes that resolves with symptomatic treatment. Female sex and low body mass index are risk factors.

CONCLUSION: Distinct clinical features of chilblains can be used for early recognition and management, thus avoiding unnecessary diagnostic testing and delays in patient care.

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