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Br J Dermatol. 1996 Nov;135(5):671-7.

Acquired perforating dermatosis in a British dialysis population.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, U.K.


A perforating disorder of the skin developing in association with chronic renal failure and often also diabetes, acquired perforating dermatosis (APD), affects up to 10% of patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis in North America. The prevalence of this condition in British dialysis patients has not yet been ascertained. We have undertaken a skin survey of our dialysis population (n = 80) to determine the prevalence and clinical presentation of APD, with subsequent assessment of disease management and outcome. Of 72 patients who participated in the survey, eight were found to have APD, seven of whom were also diabetic. Skin lesions had developed pre-dialysis in two patients, on commencement of dialysis in one, and after 1-3 years on dialysis in the remaining five. Patients typically presented with pruritic dome-shaped papules with central crusts arising on the trunk and extensor limb surfaces. Histological examination of biopsy specimens revealed two types of lesion, typified by either narrow or broad ulcer craters, each showing perforation of both collagen and elastic fibres. Topical/intradermal steroid or topical retinoid were effective therapies in certain of our patients. Clinical clearance was achieved after 3-12 months of treatment in five patients with improvement in the remaining two patients who received treatment. Of the four patients who were alive at 2-year review, three remained clear, while one patient continued to develop new lesions. We report an 11% prevalence of APD in our dialysis population, suggesting the disorder to be as prevalent in patients with chronic renal failure in Britain as in North America. An association of the disorder with long-standing diabetes was confirmed.

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