Sclerema neonatorum is a rare disease occurring at or shortly after birth, characterized by a spreading induration of the skin and subcutaneous tissue from the lower extremities to the trunk, arms and face. The skin is reddish, purplish or mottled, cold, hard and leathery, while the subcutaneous fat becomes hard and rigid. It causes joints to be immobile, rendering impossible movements of the jaw, of the extremities and even of the thorax. Respirations become weak; the pulse is weak, and the temperature stays subnormal.
Babies suffering from sclerema neonatorum are usually small and undernourished and are often premature. They almost invariably die within a few days after the onset of the disease. Sclerema neonatorum is thus sharply differentiated clinically from the disease that has been called adiponecrosis subcutanea neonatorum or lipophagic granuloma. This condition is benign; it appears a few weeks after birth and invariably disappears spontaneously, usually after a