Cutaneous Manifestations of Cholesterol Embolism Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Jun 27, 2019
  • Author: Laura F McGevna, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Also consider the following:

A high index of suspicion is needed to diagnose cholesterol embolism because symptoms are vague and a significant clinical overlap exists between cholesterol embolism and other systemic diseases. Thus, a long delay may occur between the onset of symptoms and the development of physical findings. Because of the seriousness of the disease, cholesterol embolism must be on the differential diagnosis for anyone older than 50 years with livedo reticularis or a blue toe and severe lower extremity pain in the presence of good pulses. Be clear with patients and family members that the prognosis is poor for cholesterol embolism, treatment options are limited and controversial, and that the current standard of care is supportive therapy.