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May 1964

The Cutaneous Manifestation of Cryoglobulinemia

Author Affiliations


Professor of Clinical Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

From the Division of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1964;89(5):690-697. doi:10.1001/archderm.1964.01590290056009

The literature on cryoglobulinemia is briefly reviewed. Charts are presented to show conditions in which cryopathies occur, the types of tumors and inflammation which may be associated with cryoglobulinemias, and the systemic and dermatologic findings associated with cryoglobulinemias.

A case is presented of a white woman in her fifties who had an unusual purpuric eruption associated with superficial shallow ulcers on her legs for six years. Two skin biopsies showed capillary occlusion with an amorphous eosinophilic material. Subsequent needle biopsy of the kidney revealed similar changes.

The diagnosis of cryoglobulinemia was established by laboratory studies. The presence of collagen disease or malignancy was excluded by laboratory studies during her lifetime and also by postmortem examination.

Six patients who had purpura, superficial ulceration on the legs, and capillary changes similar to the patient described in this report have been documented in the literature.

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