Hospitalized patients with hematologic malignancies are medically complex and commonly affected by dermatologic conditions.
Retrospective chart review from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2018, at Rochester Methodist Hospital (Rochester, Minnesota, USA). Patients hospitalized on hematology and BMT services receiving dermatology consultation were included.
In all, 578 consultations (63% male, median age 61 years) were reviewed. Drug reactions (22%), infection (17%), and malignant neoplasm (10%) accounted for nearly half of diagnoses. Exanthematous drug reaction (10%), graft-versus-host disease (7%), and lymphoma or leukemia cutis (6%) were the commonest individual diagnoses. There were significantly more drug reactions in severe neutropenia (33.2% vs. 15.0%), neutrophilic dermatoses in myeloid neoplasm (5.2% vs. 0.3%), and viral infection in lymphoid neoplasm (8.3% vs. 1.2%). Consultation frequently altered treatment (68%), diagnostic workup (63%), and the primary service’s initial diagnostic impression (53%). Biopsies were performed in 52% of consultations and helped secure a diagnosis 73% of the time. A total of 16.4% of consultations did not receive a definitive final diagnosis, and 18.5% were resolved in one visit.
This is the largest study to date of hospital dermatology consultation in hematology patients. Biopsies are utilized frequently and are diagnostically useful. The complexity of this patient population is evidenced by the fact that a final diagnosis remains elusive in a number of cases despite the multiple visits required for the vast majority of consultations. Nevertheless, dermatology consultation alters diagnosis and treatment in the majority of patients, highlighting the critical role dermatologists have in the care of these patients.

© 2021 the International Society of Dermatology.