To better define the diagnosis and treatment of Martorell hypertensive ischemic leg ulcer (HYTILU) and to compare Martorell HYTILU with calciphylaxis (calcific uremic arteriolopathy) and nonuremic forms of calciphylaxis.
Retrospective study from 1999 through 2007.
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Of 330 patients with leg ulcers, 31 had a clinical diagnosis of Martorell HYTILU confirmed by dermatopathologic examination.
Main Outcome Measures
Clinical features, suspected diagnosis at initial presentation, cardiovascular risk factors, findings from vascular examination and histologic analysis, specific medical and surgical management, and outcome.
Of the 31 patients, all presented with 1 or multiple painful necrotic skin ulcers on the laterodorsal part of the leg, with bilateral involvement in 16 of 31 cases (52%), and 16 were referred with suspected pyoderma gangrenosum. All patients had arterial hypertension, and 18 (58%) had diabetes. All patients had subcutaneous stenotic arteriolosclerosis on histologic analysis, with medial calcification in 22 of 31 of cases (71%). Martorell HYTILU, calciphylaxis, and nonuremic forms of calciphylaxis shared identical histologic features. Of the 31 patients, 29 (94%) were successfully treated with surgical debridement and split-thickness skin grafting. Three patients (9%) died of sepsis, 2 of whom were undergoing immunosuppressive treatment for wrongly diagnosed pyoderma gangrenosum.
Ischemic subcutaneous arteriolosclerosis is the hallmark of Martorell HYTILU, calciphylaxis, and the nonuremic forms of calciphylaxis. All patients are hypertensive and approximately 60% are diabetic. Martorell HYTILU can easily be confused with pyoderma gangrenosum, which can be detrimental, since the 2 diseases require a completely different treatment strategy.