NEW YORK - Coating on endovascular devices is associated with embolization and microvascular occlusion leading to purpura or livedo racemosa, according to a new report.
Dr. Alina Bridges, of the Department of Dermatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said by email that the study was conducted "to make clinicians and pathologists aware of this underrecognized phenomenon of iatrogenic hydrophilic polymer gel embolization that can involve the skin and present with purpura."
The phenomenon "has distinctive microscopic morphology and potential for internal organ involvement," she added.
Endovascular devices commonly are coated with hydrophilic polymer gels to improve maneuverability and prevent vasospasm. However, there are reports of the coating embolizing, resulting
in severe reactions such as stroke, pulmonary infarction, and death.
Dr. Bridges and colleagues presented a case study of eight patients with livedo racemosa and purpura after an endovascular procedure. The patients had punch biopsies obtained with hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections.
The study subjects were between 58 and 81 years old, most were men and most had previous endovascular procedures and multiple comorbidities, according to an article online August 11 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
In all but one patient, the cutaneous lesions were unilateral and all but two were asymptomatic. Six patients presented with livedo racemosa and two with purpura.
All cases demonstrated pauci-inflammatory occlusion in the mid-dermal and small superficial vessels. Likewise, histopathologic evidence was consistent with previously reported cases of emboli secondary to hydrophilic gel polymer.
There was no evidence of embolic sequela to the organs in three patients. However, one patient died of unknown reasons and four patients experienced postoperative complications including spinal cord ischemia, acute kidney injury, and cerebral infarction. In all cases, the cutaneous manifestations resolved without intervention.
The authors say they suspect the incidence of this type of embolization is underrecognized, especially with the common use of hydrophilic polymer gel coatings.
"This report highlights the importance of awareness of this rare iatrogenic complication and the importance of investigating a patient's clinical history to determine if there had been recent exposure to an intravascular device with a hydrophilic coating," Dr. Bridges said.
"While the use of polymer-coated devices offers several advantages, clinicians must be aware of their potential complications, including stroke, myocardial and pulmonary infarction, gangrene, and/or death," she said.
The authors reported no funding or conflicts of interest.