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Dermatology Online Journal

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Cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19: a systematic review and analysis of individual patient-level data


Distinctive patterns in the cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 have been recently reported. We conducted a systematic review to identify case reports and case series characterizing cutaneous manifestations of confirmed COVID-19. Key demographic and clinical data from each case were extracted and analyzed. The primary outcome measure was risk factor analysis of skin related outcomes for severe COVID-19 disease. Seventy-one case reports and series comprising 144 cases of cutaneous involvement in COVID-19 were included. The most frequently occurring morphologies were: morbilliform (30.6%), varicelliform (18.8%), urticarial (13.2%), chilblains-like (12.5%), and acro-ischemic (9%). The median age of patients was 51 years (mean: 45.9, range: 0 to 91). Patients with chilblains-like eruptions had lower frequencies of extracutaneous COVID-19 symptoms (5/18, 27.8%, P<0.05) and were less likely to have severe COVID-19 disease (2/18, 11%, 95% CI 1.4% to 34.7%, P=0.02). Patients with livedoid and acro-ischemic morphologies had severe COVID-19 more frequently than those with other morphologies (17/21, 81%, 95% CI 58.0% to 94.5%, P<0.0001). The most frequently observed cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 (morbilliform, varicelliform, and urticarial) are well-described patterns of viral exanthems. However, chilblains-like, livedoid, and acro-ischemic morphologies are not traditionally associated with viral infections and were significantly associated with severity of COVID-19 disease.

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