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Eur J Dermatol. 2012 Jan-Feb;22(1):88-92. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2011.1557.

Skin disorders in the neonatal intensive care unit of a central hospital.

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  • 1Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Hospital S. João, Alameda Professor Hernâni Monteiro, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal.


Cutaneous abnormalities in the newborn are usually benign and transitory. However, they may sometimes be extremely distressing both for parents and the medical staff, presenting with significant morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to access the clinical features of different skin disorders in a series of newborns, at a level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Northern Region of Portugal, and review some of the most impressive cases. Between January 1997 and December 2010, 27 patients were found to have an important cutaneous condition that required admission to the NICU. The most frequent presentations were vesicles and pustules (n=8; 29.6%), followed by erythroderma (n=7; 25.9%), atrophic (n=5; 18.5%) and vascular lesions (n=4; 14.8%). Four (14.8%) patients died in the neonatal period, and further 4 afterwards. Genetic studies, when available, revealed three chromosomal disorders and 6 gene mutations. Overall, skin disorders were not a leading cause of NICU admission (0.43%), but were associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

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