Erythroderma, characterized by erythema and scaling that affects at least 90% of the body, has diverse causes. Most of the clinical manifestations and laboratory findings are nonspecific, making diagnosis challenging.
Material and methods
Retrospective study of patients treated between January 1, 2010, and June 1, 2020. We reviewed the records to identify all patients with erythroderma who were hospitalized in Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires and followed for at least 6 months. We extracted information on clinical histories, the characteristics of the episodes, laboratory and histopathologic findings, and clinical course.
Seventy patients were studied. The mean age at onset was 63 years, and the ratio of men to women was 1.2:1. Adverse drug reactions caused the largest proportion of the rashes (48%), and vancomycin was the most common culprit (involved in 30% of the cases). The next most frequent cause was a preexisting skin disease, psoriasis being the most common (in 42%). The clinicopathologic correlation was adequate for diagnosis after the first biopsy in 40% of patients, but the diagnostic yield increased to 76% with the second biopsy. The largest number of biopsies required was 8, in 2 patients. The outcome was favorable in 92% of the cases.
Adverse reactions to medications accounted for the largest proportion of erythroderma cases in this series, and vancomycin was the main culprit. We found no statistically significant associations among the variables studied. Nor did we identify potential predictors of causes, poor outcomes, or mortality.