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June 1997

Pustular and Erythrodermic Psoriasis Complicated by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY.

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(6):747-750. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890420085010

Background:  The pustular and erythrodermic types of psoriasis have been associated with a number of systemic complications, including congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) refers to acute noncardiogenic pulmonary edema with hypoxemia of various causes and has been attributed to pulmonary capillary leak. Recently, 4 cases of generalized pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis have been described associated with a pulmonary capillary leak syndrome.

Observations:  We describe 2 additional patients, 1 with pustular and erythrodermic psoriasis and 1 with erythrodermic psoriasis, who developed ARDS. Radiographic findings, pulmonary capillary wedge pressures, echocardiograms, and, in one case, an open lung biopsy specimen, were consistent with the diagnosis of ARDS. In neither case could we document any of the common causes of acute respiratory failure.

Conclusions:  Generalized pustular and erythrodermic psoriasis may be complicated by ARDS. The pathogenesis of this complication is unclear, but proinflammatory cytokines may be involved.Arch Dermatol. 1997;133:747-750

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