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    Eosinophilic fasciitis

    Eosinophilic fasciitis is a very rate syndrome in which muscle tissue under the skin, called fascia, becomes swollen and thick. The hands, arms, legs, and feet can swell quickly.

    The disease may look similar to scleroderma but is not related.

    Causes

    The cause of eosinophilic fasciitis is unknown. In people with this condition, white blood cells called eosinophils, build up in the muscles and tissues. Eosinophils are linked to allergic reactions. The syndrome is more common in people ages 30 to 60.

    Symptoms

    • Bone pain or tenderness
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Muscle weakness
    • Tenderness and swelling of the arms, legs and sometimes the joints
    • Thickened skin that looks puckered

    Exams and Tests

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Gamma globulins (a type of immune system cell)
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
    • MRI
    • Muscle biopsy
    • Skin biopsy

    Treatment

    Corticosteroids and other immune-suppressing medicines are used to relieve symptoms. These medicines are more effective when started early in the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also help reduce symptoms.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    In most cases, the condition goes away within 3 to 5 years. However, symptoms may last longer or come back.

    Possible Complications

    Arthritis is a rare complication of eosinophilic fasciitis. Some people may develop very serious blood disorders or blood-related cancers, such as aplastic anemia or leukemia. The outlook is much worse if blood diseases occur.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder.

    Prevention

    There is no known prevention.

    References

    Lee LA, Werth VP. The Skin and Rhematic Diseases. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2012:chap 43.

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      A Closer Look

        Tests for Eosinophilic fasciitis

          Review Date: 3/22/2013

          Reviewed By: Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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