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J Cutan Pathol. 1984 Apr;11(2):132-9.

Lymphocytic vasculitis: is it a specific clinicopathologic entity?


Seventy-one biopsy specimens taken at the Mayo Clinic from June 1977 through May 1981 demonstrated lymphocytic vasculitis. All specimens met the criteria for lymphocytic vasculitis, defined as (1) a predominantly lymphocytic infiltrate that involves and surrounds blood vessel walls, (2) fibrinoid necrosis of blood vessel walls, and (3) endothelial cell hyperplasia. Other histologic findings such as thrombosis, extravasation of erythrocytes, ulceration, epidermal infarction, and evidence of nuclear dust were seen only occasionally. Hypocomplementemia and other serologic abnormalities were very rare, even when lymphocytic vasculitis was extensive. The clinical diagnoses varied, with drug reaction (12 patients) and chronic urticaria (10 patients) being most frequent. In 32 cases, no specific diagnosis could be made at the time of dermatologic dismissal. In the remaining 39 cases, the diagnoses were varied and no definite clinical categories can be applied to them. We also observed typical lymphocytic vasculitis in some cases of other clinical entities, such as nodular scabies, erythema multiforme, and urticarial vasculitis, and so forth. We conclude that lymphocytic vasculitis is probably not a specific clinicopathologic entity but is more likely a reactive process, secondary to severe lymphocytic inflammation in the skin.

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