Hand dermatitis and lymphoedema.

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Hand dermatitis and lymphoedema.

Postby patoco » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:00 am

Hand dermatitis and lymphoedema.

Br J Dermatol. 2009 Jul

V.J. Pearce and P.S. Mortimer
Lymphoedema Service, Department of Dermatology, St George's Hospital, London SW17 0QT, U.K.

Correspondence to Victoria Pearce.
E-mail: torijpearce@yahoo.com.au

Conflicts of interest
None declared.


hand dermatitis • lymphoedema


Hand dermatitis is common, with lymphoedema of the hand and forearm a rare complication. The mechanism of lymphoedema in such cases is poorly understood, hence management can be challenging. To investigate the underlying mechanism of lymphoedema associated with hand dermatitis and outline recommendations for management, we identified all patients with lymphoedema associated with hand dermatitis referred to our lymphoedema service, a tertiary referral centre.

Treatment outcome was assessed by telephone interview and through correspondence with primary physicians and therapists. In total, nine patients, six with bilateral and three with unilateral lymphoedema associated with hand dermatitis, attended our service over a 4-year period. Most had long-standing bilateral pompholyx eczema. Three patients reported no signs of infection prior to the onset of swelling. All patients had recurrent episodes of infection after the onset of swelling. Lymphoscintigraphy, when used, revealed a failure of small initial lymphatics of the hand to absorb and drain lymph to regional nodes. Prophylactic antibiotics together with aggressive management of the dermatitis, often with systemic therapy, were required to reduce swelling.

Possible mechanisms for lymphoedema associated with hand dermatitis include obliterative lymphangitis from infection, an inflammatory effect of the dermatitis on local lymphatics or a constitutive weakness of lymph drainage exposed to chronic inflammation, or any combination of the three. Treatment is only successful once both infection and inflammation from the dermatitis are controlled.

Wiley InterScience

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 5/abstract
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