Erythema Elevatum Diutinum Clinical Presentation

Updated: Mar 22, 2019
  • Author: Firas G Hougeir, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
  • Print
Presentation

History

Patients with erythema elevatum diutinum (EED) usually present with persistent, firm lesions on the extensor surfaces of their skin, especially over the joints. These lesions are most often nodules and round or oval plaques (see image below). However, on rare occasions, blisters and ulcers may also appear.

Nodular lesions on the knees of a patient with ery Nodular lesions on the knees of a patient with erythema elevatum diutinum.

The color of the lesions progresses over time from yellow or pinkish to red, purple, or brown. In addition to the color changes, patients may describe the lesions as increasing in number and size over time. They may also note that the lesions enlarge during the day and return to their previous size overnight. [16]

The lesions can be completely asymptomatic, painful, or cause a sensation of burning or itching. These symptoms can be exacerbated by cold.

The general health of the patient may be otherwise excellent, although a history of arthralgia is found relatively often with erythema elevatum diutinum.

Next:

Physical Examination

Upon physical examination, erythema elevatum diutinum lesions are generally found symmetrically on the extensor surfaces of the skin, especially over the joints. [17]

Clinical studies show a preference for the extensor surfaces of the hands, the wrists, the elbows, the ankles, the Achilles tendons, the fingers, and the toes (see image below).

Plaques and papular lesions on the wrists and the Plaques and papular lesions on the wrists and the dorsum of the hands and the digits of a patient with erythema elevatum diutinum.

The buttocks, the face, and the ears as well as the palms, the soles, the legs, the forearms, and the genitals may be involved [18] ; however, the trunk is usually spared.

The lesions usually feel firm and are freely movable over the underlying tissue, except when on the palms and the soles. [18]

Their surface is generally smooth and sometimes slightly scaly.

Crusting and/or bleeding, although uncommon, have been noted.

Several studies have shown an association of erythema elevatum diutinum with ocular abnormalities, including nodular scleritis, panuveitis, autoimmune keratolysis, and peripheral keratitis. [19, 20] Therefore, attention should be given to ocular symptoms and eye examination findings.

Previous