Fluoroscopy-induced chronic radiation dermatitis (FICRD) resulting from prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation during interventional procedures has been documented in the radiology and cardiology literature. However, the phenomenon has been rarely reported in the dermatologic literature. Since patients with FICRD often see a dermatologist or a primary care physician to treat their injuries, the diagnosis of FICRD is perhaps often overlooked.
A 62-year-old man with type 2 diabetes mellitus and severe coronary artery disease was seen with a 2-year history of a pruritic, tender, telangiectatic patch lesion over his left scapula. Over the next 2 years, the lesion became indurated and eventually ulcerated. A skin biopsy specimen demonstrated changes consistent with a chronic radiation dermatitis. The patient was unaware of radiation exposure, but persistent questioning from his dermatologists revealed that he had undergone multiple fluoroscopy-guided cardiac procedures. This was confirmed by a review of his medical records.
The diagnosis of FICRD should be considered for any patient who is seen with an acquired vascular lesion, a morphealike lesion, or an unexplained ulcer localized over the scapula, the back, or lateral trunk below the axilla.