JOURNAL ARTICLE

Acrocyanosis: an overview

Sudip Das, Arunasis Maiti
Indian Journal of Dermatology 2013, 58 (6): 417-20
24249890

INTRODUCTION: It is a functional peripheral vascular disorder characterized by bluish discoloration of skin and mucous membrane due to diminished oxyhemoglobin. It may be due to central or local tissue oxygenation defects. It is a painful episodic disorder, where trophic changes and ulceration are very rare except in necrotizing variant. By definition, it refers to persistent abnormally deep blue or cyanotic discoloration of skin over extremities (hand and feet most commonly) due to decreased oxyhemoglobin.

ETIOLOGY: It can be both primary and secondary to psychiatric, neurologic, autoimmune, infective, metabolic and other causes. The existing hypothesis suggests the prevailing role of vasospastic reaction over possible blood rheology impairment.[1] As per the current line of thinking, it is due to chronic vasospasm of small cutaneous arteries, and arterioles along with compensatory dilatation in the capillary and post capillary venules causes cyanosis and sweating.

CLINICAL FEATURES: Acrocyanosis is an uncommon condition. It usually presents with coolness and violaceous dusky discolorations of hands and less frequently the feet. Other peripheral part like ear, nose, lips and nipple can also be affected.[2] The changes may be transient after cold exposure but frequently persist during winter and even in summer.

MANAGEMENT: There is no standard and curative medical or surgical treatment of acrocyanosis. In mild cases, it is unnecessary to give any drug treatment. Life style modification, dietary and hygiene counseling, avoidance of cold and reassurance that the bluish skin discoloration does not indicate any serious illness is all that is necessary.

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