Abstract | October 29, 2020

COVID-Toes: The Clinical Correlation between Chilblains and SARS-CoV-2

Presenting Author: Isabella Dreyfuss, BS, Medical Student, Department of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL

Co-Authors: Natalie Smith, Medical Student, Nova Southeastern University; Jasmin Shahrestani, Medical Student, Nova Southeastern University

Learning Objectives

  1. Triage COVID-19 patients based on visual dermatologic symptoms and flatten the curve to increase positive results and prevent disease progression in SARS-CoV-2 patients.

Abstract: The novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) presents with a wide range of symptoms. These may include fever, pneumonia, headaches, sore throat, diarrhea, strokes, liver and kidney damage, loss of taste. Yet, the most bizarre documented presenting symptoms has been “COVID toes.” Overall, the fifteen studies conducted found that patients with dermatologic symptoms often displayed chilblain-like skin lesions, pernio-like, urticarial, macular erythema, vesicular, papulosquamous, and retiform purpura. Patients presenting with COVID toes, regardless of confirmatory COVID-19 laboratory results, demonstrated epidermal necrotic keratinocytes, dermal edema, perivascular and perieccrine sweat gland lymphocytic (CD3/4+) inflammation, vascular changes with endothelialitis, microthrombosis, fibrin deposition, and immune reactant deposits on vessels. Histopathological immunohistochemical and direct immunofluorescence from biopsy showed IgM deposits in most of the cases. Patient symptoms varied in severity from milder pernio-like lesions to progressive retiform purpura. These findings could aid in triaging patients with COVID toes. This may prevent the progression to the known neurologic and destabilizing thrombotic events seen in many COVID-19. In patients with lesions, early identification and intervention with antivirals, antiplatelets, and anticoagulants to prevent hypoxia and reperfusion injuries may be avoided. Dermatological features are often overlooked; distinct clinical signs of COVID-19 and further awareness and research are indicated.

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