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Gougerot-Blum Disease

Last updated Sept. 17, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Gougerot-Blum Disease is a skin condition that manifests as multiple, small papules that form plaques.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Gougerot-Blum Syndrome
  • Pigmented Purpuric Lichenoid Dermatitis of Gougerot and Blum
  • Purpura Pigmentosa Chronica

What is Gougerot-Blum Disease? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Gougerot-Blum Disease is a skin condition that manifests as multiple, small papules that form plaques. These are usually observed in the legs, which then slowly spreads to the rest of the body
  • It is also known as Pigmented Purpuric Lichenoid Dermatitis of Gougerot and Blum and has no known cause. This chronic skin disorder is categorized in the group of pigmented purpuric dermatoses
  • The skin discoloration occurs in patches, usually on the lower legs. The condition is not painful or frequently itchy. A skin biopsy may help confirm the diagnosis of Gougerot-Blum Disease
  • It is difficult to treat Gougerot-Blum Disease, which is a progressive skin condition. They may also recur after suitable treatment and over time the condition becomes chronic. The mainline of treatment is the use of steroidal creams and lotions
  • The prognosis of Gougerot-Blum Disease is generally good, though it may be present for several years. It may cause cosmetic issues and the affected individuals may face a lot of emotional stress

Who gets Gougerot-Blum Disease? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Gougerot-Blum Disease can affect individuals of all ages
  • Both males and females are affected; however, the condition is seen at a higher incidence in males
  • There is no racial or ethnic predilection for this condition; it is observed worldwide

What are the Risk Factors for Gougerot-Blum Disease? (Predisposing Factors)

  • Presently, there are no risk factors associated with Gougerot-Blum Disease
  • It has been reported that viral infections may be a risk factor for the condition

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Gougerot-Blum Disease? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause of Gougerot-Blum Disease is not well-established or understood. But a dysfunctional immune system may be a causative factor
  • The skin discoloration occurs due to the inflammation of capillaries with leakage of red blood cells into the surrounding tissue. As the RBCs breakdown, the iron in the hemoglobin get deposited in the skin causing its discoloration
  • The condition is not infectious and does not spread from one individual to another

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Gougerot-Blum Disease?

The clinical signs and symptoms of Gougerot-Blum Disease include the following:

  • Localized (confined to a certain area), well-circumscribed areas of patches on the skin in the form of small papules, which are many in number. These papules form plaques (superficial, solid lesions on the skin)
  • The skin papules are occasionally itchy, but are usually not painful
  • The onset of the patches takes place slowly, beginning from the lower legs. It then spreads to the rest of the body

How is Gougerot-Blum Disease Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Gougerot-Blum Disease may involve the following procedures:

  • The diagnosis is usually made by a good physical examination and evaluation of medical history
  • Dermoscopy: Dermoscopy is a diagnostic tool where a dermatologist examines the skin using a special magnified lens
  • Complete blood count (CBC) and other blood tests to rule out any infection
  • Skin biopsy: A skin biopsy is performed and sent to a laboratory for a pathological examination, who examines the biopsy under a microscope. After putting together clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed) and with microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis. A skin biopsy is performed to rule out other similar conditions

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Gougerot-Blum Disease?

The complications of Gougerot-Blum Disease may include the following:

  • Development of worsening and recurrent chronic skin papules, which may be resistant to treatment
  • The longstanding skin patches can cause emotional stress and psychological trauma in some individuals, leading to depression

How is Gougerot-Blum Disease Treated?

The treatment of Gougerot-Blum Disease is difficult and the condition is slowly progressive and chronic in nature. The lesions may recur after a period of time, sometimes after the condition gets better. The treatment provided may only help in improving the symptoms, but there is no cure for Gougerot-Blum Disease.

  • The application of topical steroid creams and lotions is usually beneficial
  • Ultraviolet therapy
  • The presence of chronic skin lesions may cause psychological discomfort; individuals may require reassurance to help with stress and anxiety
  • Antibiotic therapy is not helpful in the treatment of this skin condition

Despite therapy, the skin lesions persist for a long period of time, resulting in a chronic skin disorder.

How can Gougerot-Blum Disease be Prevented?

There is currently no effective means of prevention of Gougerot-Blum Disease, because the cause of this condition is unknown.

What is the Prognosis of Gougerot-Blum Disease? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The skin lesions in Gougerot-Blum Disease are not life-threatening, however they can cause cosmetic concerns in many individuals
  • With appropriate treatment the condition may get better

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Gougerot-Blum Disease:

There are 3 types of pigmented purpuric dermatosis (PPD), which include:

  • Schamberg Disease
  • Gougerot-Blum Disease
  • Majocchi Disease

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 13, 2015
Last updated: Sept. 17, 2018