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Visual Impairment Caused by Periorbital Edema in an Infant with Acute Hemorrhagic Edema of Infancy



Acute hemorrhagic edema of infancy (AHEI) is a cutaneous vasculitis seen in children. Many consider it to be a clinical variant of Schönlein–Henoch purpura, but others regard it as a separate entity because of its benign nature, age of onset, lack of visceral involvement, and frequent absence of vascular immunoglobulin A deposition. It is clinically characterized by large “cockade” or rosette-shaped, annular, purpuric lesions involving the face and extremities; erythematous edema; and mild fever. It seems to appear secondary to a history of viral or bacterial infection, course of antibiotics, or vaccination. Because of the unknown etiology and benign character, which leads to spontaneous complete recovery, there is no specific treatment necessary for AHEI, and according to the literature, systemic corticosteroids do not seem to alter the course of the disease. We report the case of an 11-month-old boy who manifested massive periorbital edema along with all of the clinical characteristics of this entity and showed clear improvement of the symptoms after a 24-hour administration of systemic corticosteroid therapy. Given the positive effect of this therapy, we propose that systemic corticosteroids should be used to ameliorate the acute manifestations and avoid the rapid progression of the disease.