Vasospasm Is a Consistent Finding in Pernio (Chilblains) and a Possible Clue to Pathogenesis

Varun Shahi, David A Wetter, Jonathan A Cappel, Mark D P Davis, Peter C Spittell
Dermatology: International Journal for Clinical and Investigative Dermatology 2015, 231 (3): 274-9

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Pernio (chilblains) is an inflammatory condition classically characterized by localized erythema and swelling of acral sites upon exposure to cool and damp conditions. We sought to determine whether cold-induced vasospasm has a role in the development of pernio.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 5 patients with pernio who were seen at our institution between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2011, and had undergone a noninvasive arterial vascular study of the upper extremities that corresponded to a site of clinical involvement of pernio and who had also undergone vasospastic testing and ice water immersion as part of the noninvasive arterial vascular study protocol.

RESULTS: Vascular testing in all patients (mean age 37.8 years; 4 women) demonstrated vasospasm with ice water immersion.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that vasospasm likely has a role in the pathophysiology of pernio and may also provide a rationale for the pharmacological treatment of vasospasm in patients with pernio.

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