Life-threatening skin conditions

B. B. Davidovici, E. Orion, R. Wolf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Unfortunately, nowadays it is generally believed that the practice of dermatology does not involve emergencies or life-threatening conditions. This review presents a different situation: dermatologists have to deal with emergencies in which only prompt and early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment can make the difference between losing or saving the patient's life. Dermatologists, in clinical practice or in referral centres, are the first physicians to examine patients for skin diseases that are potentially life-threatening or are called for consultation about severe systemic diseases in which related cutaneous lesions are an essential evidence to diagnosis. The topic of life-threatening skin conditions is broad, covering almost all the fields of modern medicine. Therefore, we believe that each dermatologist should be familiar with these conditions, having the ability to recognize and diagnose them, being aware of their complications, and being informed on the latest treatments. The aim of this review is not to cover all the possible topics; instead, it brings together a sample from the different groups included in this large field of dermatologic emergencies and life-threatening skin diseases. It is our hope that this review will act as a stimulus and will convince practicing dermatologists to refresh their knowledge on dermatologic emergencies, in order to improve their skills whenever they are confronted with a potentially life threatening skin disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-353
Number of pages17
JournalGiornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dermatological diseases
  • Emergencies
  • Skin


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