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Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2001 Mar;128(3 Pt 2):358-62.

[Erysipelas: evolution under treatment, complications].

[Article in French]

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Service de Dermatologie, Groupe Hospitalier Bichat-Claude-Bernard, Assistance Publique, Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.



The authors studied the evolution and the complications of lower limb erysipelas under antibiotherapy.


The following parameters were studied in literature over the last 20 years (keyword=erysipelas): percentage of favorable course, delay for cure, local or systemic complications, prognostic factors, and mortality.


Data was only available in series of hospitalized patients. The lower limbs were the exclusive or the most frequently involved areas. Under systemic antibiotherapy, the overall efficacy rates reached 76-84 p. 100, with apyrexia within 24 to 48 h, and regression of local symptoms within 4 to 6 days. The median hospital stay was 10-13 days. A longer hospital stay was observed for: older patients, associated diseases, longer duration of illness prior to admission, and presence of a leg ulcer. Complications were observed: abscess or superficial necrosis (3-12 p. 100), deep thrombophlebitis in 1.4 p. 100 of retrospective studies vs. 2.6-15 p. 100 in prospective series. Mortality was low (0.5 p. 100) due to systemic complications more than to the severity of local symptoms. Relapse was frequent (15-25 p. 100).


The unavailability of data concerning outpatients limits the formulation of valid conclusions. Nevertheless the medical course was favorable (80 p. 100) with apyrexia within 2 days, and absence of local symptoms within 4 to 6 days. Mortality or longer duration of hospital stay was linked to age or to associated diseases. The risk of deep thrombophlebitis was rare in absence of predisposing factors. Systematic prevention should be suggested and care given to local predisposing factors responsible for frequent recurrent forms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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