Dermoscopy of early non-ulcerated livedoid vasculopathy.
Livedoid vasculopathy is an uncommon disease and is a purely cutaneous form of ischemia. The disease is particularly painful due to vascular occlusion, which commonly progresses to ulceration and subsequently heals slowly over weeks or months. It does not show a complete clearing of the lesion, but gives rise to pearly atrophic scars (white atrophy), punctate telangiectasia, and brownish pigmentation accompanied by a racemous livedo (1).
The disease can be accompanied by atrophie blanche (AB), a porcelain-white scar that may be seen at the base of a healed ulcer. Livedoid vasculopathy is responsible for about 1% of leg ulcers (2). The lower legs, in particular the dorsum of the feet and ankles, are most often affected.
The disease is more common in patients over 45. Venous stasis can also be associated with this disease. Other comorbidities are arterial hypertension and treatment with anticoagulants. A recent study in Germany estimated the percentage of leg ulcers in those patients to be as high as 14.3% (3).
Patients and methods
We report the use of dermoscopy to further characterize such lesions in patients with early, non-ulcerated livedoid vasculopathy without clotting disorders. The duration of these complaints was between 6 and 12 months.
Dermoscopic examination was performed using a DermLite camera with polarized light (10x magnification; 3Gen, Dana Point, CA). The DermLite cam contains polarization filters, and therefore immersion liquids do not need to be applied during skin examination.
Five consecutive patients (four females and one male between 43 and 50 years old) with painful livedoid vasculopathy of the ankles without ulcerations and without venous insufficiency were evaluated.
Although our patients had no ulceration, all five showed variable amounts of ivory-white areas surrounded by erythematous lesions. The erythematous lesions had glomerular-like vessels in all five patients (Figs. 1 and 2). In three patients, some telangiectatic linear vessels were noted in the periphery of the lesions (Fig. 2). Pigmentary changes were completely absent.
Our study has two major limitations: a) the small number of patients and b) the lack of histology. Nevertheless, it is of interest because there is not much information available on this subject. Here we present dermoscopic features of early livedoid vasculopathy without ulcerations. There is only one other study by Hu et al. reporting on the use of dermoscopy in livedoid vasculopathy. They investigated nine female patients with ulcerated livedoid vasculopathy (4). The ivory-white atrophic scar-like areas they noted were also seen in our patients. Because they had no history of ulceration, ulceration does not seem to be a conditio sine qua non. We suggest that these ivory-white lesions are a result of tissue fibrosis. Hu et al. observed some hyperpigmentation in a reticular pattern in the periphery of the lesions (4). This seems to be a secondary change either due to ulceration with pronounced inflammation or due to concomitant venous insufficiency. In our study, hyperpigmentation was not visible. The major finding in our study and in the study by Hu et al. was the formation of glomerular vessels (4). We also observed some telangiectatic linear vessels in the periphery of the lesions as described elsewhere (4). We suggest that these vascular formations might be later symptoms.
Glomerular vessels are not specific to livedoid vasculopathy. They have been described in chronic sun-damaged skin with precancerous lesions (5-7), in the periphery of hyperkeratotic Bowen's disease (8) and basal cell carcinoma (9), in poromas (10), in psoriasis (11), and in cutaneous leishmaniasis (12, 13). In contrast to other tumorous or non-tumorous cutaneous lesions, the glomerular vessels in early livedoid vasculopathy show a more regular and even distribution over the entire lesion, which might be a more characteristic feature.
Livedoid vasculopathy is caused by a hypercoagulable state, leading to obstruction of small dermal blood vessels by intraluminal thrombi. In addition, the platelets may be characterized by increased aggregation ability (Table 1). The histopathology of livedoid vasculopathy is characterized by intraluminal thrombosis, proliferation of the endothelium, and segmental hyalinization of dermal vessels. Treatment of choice is with oral rivaroxaban (14).
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(14.) Weishaupt C, Strolin A, Kahle B, Kreuter A, Schneider SW, Gerss J, et al. Anticoagulation with rivaroxaban for livedoid vasculopathy (RILIVA): a multicentre, single-arm, open-label, phase 2a, proof-of-concept trial. Lancet Haematol. 2016;3:e72-9.
Uwe Wollina (1[??])
(1) Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Dresden Academic Teaching Hospital, Dresden, Germany. ([??]) Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: 1 February 2018 | Returned for modification: 26 February 2018 | Accepted: 16 March 2018
Table 1 | Important procoagulant factors in livedoid vasculopathy. Factor Description Protein C deficiency Protein C is a vitamin K-dependent anticoagulant protein that inactivates coagulation factors Va and Villa, and its deficiency (< 55%) results in a thrombophilic state. Protein S deficiency Protein S is a cofactor of protein C and inactivates the coagulation factors Va and Villa; type 1 and type 3 are known as quantitative defects, whereas type 2 is a qualitative defect that has been infrequently observed. Factor V Leiden (FVL) FVL thrombophilia is caused by a mutation mutation in the gene for factor V(F5G1691A mutation resulting in the amino acid substitution FVR506Q). Antithrombin (AT) III Hereditary AT deficiency is rare; the deficiency autosomal dominant trait typically reduces functional AT levels to 40 to 60% of normal Prothrombin gene mutation Prothrombin G20210A mutation. Hyperhomocysteinemia May occur isolated, but is also a feature of inherited metabolic disorders, including homocystinuria, due to mutation in the CBS gene, and N(5,10)-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, caused by mutation in the MTHFR gene (607093); homocysteinemia/ homocystinuria and megaloblastic anemia can result from defects in vitamin B12 (cobalamin; cbl) metabolism.
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|Publication:||Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2018|
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