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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Jun;40(6 Pt 1):979-87.

Five cases of calciphylaxis and a review of the literature.

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Department of Dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center, California 94305, USA.


Calciphylaxis is a rare phenomenon of cutaneous necrosis that typically occurs in association with renal failure and has a poor prognosis. We report 5 new cases of calciphylaxis that illustrate the important clinical and histopathologic features of the disease. All patients had end-stage renal failure at the time that purpuric plaques and nodules were noted; these subsequently progressed to necrotic ulcers with eschars. All skin biopsy specimens showed varying degrees of calcification of the medial layer of blood vessel walls in the dermis and subcutaneous fat. Neither the product of serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations nor parathyroid hormone levels correlated temporally with the clinical observations in every case, emphasizing the importance of clinical-histopathologic correlation. Although certain features of calciphylaxis in humans resemble the animal model originally proposed, there are also some crucial differences. We review the pathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical and histopathologic features, and treatment of this disease.

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