Background Blistering of the skin can be due to a number of diverse
aetiologies. Pattern and distribution of blisters can be helpful in
diagnosis but usually biopsy is required for histopathology and
immunofluoresence to make an accurate diagnosis.
Objective This article outlines the clinical and pathological features of
blistering skin conditions with a particular focus on bullous
impetigo, dermatitis herpetiformis, bullous pemphigoid and
porphyria cutanea tarda.
Discussion Infections, contact reactions and drug eruptions should
always be considered. Occasionally blistering may represent
a cutaneous manifestation of a metabolic disease such as
porphyria. Although rare, it is important to be aware of the
autoimmune group of blistering diseases, as if unrecognised and
untreated, they can lead to significant morbidity and mortality.
Early referral to a dermatologist is important as management of
blistering skin conditions can be challenging.
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