Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD) is a rare clinical entity affecting patients with renal failure, often on chronic dialysis or after transplantation. The patient profile at risk for this debilitating condition is undefined. Lack of awareness of the condition has hampered epidemiologic work in identifying the etiology. We present four chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients who developed this disease. The patients' ages ranged from 26 to 75 years, and they had received HD from between 20 months and 10 years before the diagnosis of NFD. Two patients had a history of renal transplantation. All patients had progressive thickening and woody induration of the skin associated with contractures, leading to difficult ambulation, and permanent disability within weeks of the diagnosis. In one case, the diaphragm, psoas muscle, and pericardium were involved. The latter is likely the first report of pericardial involvement of NFD. In all four patients, the skin findings were restricted to the extremities, sparing the trunk and face. Skin biopsy findings included thickened dermis with particularly thickened collagen bundles, fibroblast proliferation, minimal mucin deposition, and nearly absent inflammation. The pathologic findings were distinct from scleromyxedema and scleroderma. We found no laboratory evidence of autoimmune disease or thyroid dysfunction to account for alternate etiologies. CD34-positive cells were documented in the skin biopsies as well as in the diaphragm, psoas muscle, and pericardial tissue of the concerned case. NFD is a novel fibrosing disorder of progressively debilitating nature which needs further clinical characterization and recognition to guide investigation of its pathogenesis.
- Chronic dialysis
- Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy
- Skin disease