Rapidly progressive erythema

Presenter: Portela D., Laffer M
Dermatology Program: Oakwood Hospital – Southshore
Program Director: Steve Grekin DO
Submitted on: May 4, 2015

CHIEF COMPLAINT:  A 50-year-old Caucasian male presented with a three-day history of mildly pruritic erythematous papules and patches progressing from his head to his chest and upper arms after experiencing a sunburn during work.


Signs and symptoms:  The patient complained of a pruritic erythematous rash from his scalp to mid trunk. Additionally, there was erythema and hyperkeratosis of his hands and feet.

Previous Treatment:  The patients primary care provider had been treating the patch with a mid potency topical corticosteroid.

Other information:  The patient had a family history significant for psoriasis. He has a past medical history significant for hypertension, treated with atenolol. A review of systems was negative for constitutional symptoms.


Physical examination revealed a well appearing male with brightly erythematous, hyperkeratotic, follicular papules and scaly patches coalescing on the scalp, face, chest, and upper extremities. Examination of his hands and feet revealed erythema and hyperkeratosis of the palms and soles.


Initial laboratory evaluation was within normal limits and included complete blood count with differential, comprehensive metabolic panel, and urinalysis.


Two 4mm punch biopsies were obtained and revealed elongation of rete ridges, hyperkeratosis and confluent parakeratosis. There was a mild superficial perivascular lymphocytic and neutrophilic infiltrate as well as the presence of extravasated red blood cells. PAS stain was negative for fungi and colloidal iron stain was negative for mucinosis.


1.   Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris
2.   Psoriasis
3.   Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
4.   Dermatomyositis

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