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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2011 Jun;36(4):351-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2010.03978.x. Epub 2010 Dec 24.

Local complications of erysipelas: a study of associated risk factors.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Greece.



Local complications of erysipelas include haemorrhagic, bullous, abscessing and necrotic lesions. The risk factors predisposing patients to local complications are not fully known.


To examine local complications of erysipelas and to identify possible risk factors predisposing to their appearance.


Medical records from all patients hospitalized with complications of erysipelas (purpura, bullae, abscesses and necrosis), admitted to the University Hospital of Heraklion between 1994 and 2002, were retrospectively studied. Clinical and laboratory data were compared with those from patients with erysipelas without local complications.


In total, 145 patients were analysed, of whom 46 had local disease complications. Using bivariate analysis, the factors significantly associated with disease complications were found to be age ≥ 51 years, obesity, longer duration of local symptoms, and fever on admission. During hospitalization, increased C-reactive protein level, isolation of pathogens, longer duration of fever and/or presence of leucocytosis, absence of response to initial antibiotic therapy, and longer length of hospitalization were also associated with complications in the bivariate analysis. However, in the multivariate analysis, obesity (OR 4.489, 95% CI 1.719-11.725, P = 0.002) was the only independent factor associated with complicated erysipelas.


This study found obesity to be an independent risk factor for local complications, of erysipelas. Hence, obese patients with erysipelas are prone to complications, and should be carefully evaluated because of the potential severity of disease and the increased risk of failure of empirical antimicrobial therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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