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A Case Report of Herpetic Whitlow with Positive Kanavel's Cardinal Signs: A Diagnostic and Treatment Difficulty.

Brkljac M, Bitar S, Naqui Z - Case Rep Orthop (2014)

Bottom Line: Its characteristic findings are significant pain and erythema with overlying nonpurulent vesicles.This rare case highlights the similarity in presentation between flexor sheath infection and herpetic whitlow which can lead to diagnostic confusion and mismanagement.We emphasise the importance of careful past medical history taking as well as considering herpetic whitlow as a differential diagnosis despite the presence of strongly positive Kanavel's signs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Salford Royal Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

ABSTRACT
Herpetic whitlow is an acute viral infection of the hand caused by either herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 or 2. Its characteristic findings are significant pain and erythema with overlying nonpurulent vesicles. The differential diagnosis includes flexor tenosynovitis. We present a case of recurrent infection of the middle finger in an immunocompetent 19-year-old girl. Multiple painful pustules with tracking cellulitis were partially treated by oral antibiotics. A recurrence with positive Kanavel's signs suggested flexor tenosynovitis at seven months. Her symptoms improved transiently following emergent surgical open flexor sheath exploration and washout however, she required two further washouts; at eleven and thirteen months to improve symptoms. Viral cultures were obtained from the third washout as HSV infection was disclosed from further history taking. These were positive for HSV2. Treatment with acyclovir at thirteen months after presentation led to a complete resolution of her symptoms with no further recurrences to date. This rare case highlights the similarity in presentation between flexor sheath infection and herpetic whitlow which can lead to diagnostic confusion and mismanagement. We emphasise the importance of careful past medical history taking as well as considering herpetic whitlow as a differential diagnosis despite the presence of strongly positive Kanavel's signs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

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Mentions: Two months after the third washout, she was rereferred to the hand service by her General Practitioner with a painful swollen middle finger partially covered with multiple small pustules as seen in Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4. However, Kanavel's signs were not present this time. A more detailed history revealed a pervious herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection as a child. The pustules were surgically deroofed and thick fluid was drained in theatre. Samples of tissue and fluid were sent for microbiological analysis including a swab in a viral transport medium. HSV type 2 was confirmed following a positive culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The diagnosis of herpetic whitlow was established. She received 200 mg of Acyclovir five times a day for seven days and, at thirteen months after presentation, this led to complete resolution of her symptoms with no further recurrences up to the time of writing.


A Case Report of Herpetic Whitlow with Positive Kanavel's Cardinal Signs: A Diagnostic and Treatment Difficulty.

Brkljac M, Bitar S, Naqui Z - Case Rep Orthop (2014)

© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4236959&req=5

Mentions: Two months after the third washout, she was rereferred to the hand service by her General Practitioner with a painful swollen middle finger partially covered with multiple small pustules as seen in Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4. However, Kanavel's signs were not present this time. A more detailed history revealed a pervious herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection as a child. The pustules were surgically deroofed and thick fluid was drained in theatre. Samples of tissue and fluid were sent for microbiological analysis including a swab in a viral transport medium. HSV type 2 was confirmed following a positive culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The diagnosis of herpetic whitlow was established. She received 200 mg of Acyclovir five times a day for seven days and, at thirteen months after presentation, this led to complete resolution of her symptoms with no further recurrences up to the time of writing.

Bottom Line: Its characteristic findings are significant pain and erythema with overlying nonpurulent vesicles.This rare case highlights the similarity in presentation between flexor sheath infection and herpetic whitlow which can lead to diagnostic confusion and mismanagement.We emphasise the importance of careful past medical history taking as well as considering herpetic whitlow as a differential diagnosis despite the presence of strongly positive Kanavel's signs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Salford Royal Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

ABSTRACT
Herpetic whitlow is an acute viral infection of the hand caused by either herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 or 2. Its characteristic findings are significant pain and erythema with overlying nonpurulent vesicles. The differential diagnosis includes flexor tenosynovitis. We present a case of recurrent infection of the middle finger in an immunocompetent 19-year-old girl. Multiple painful pustules with tracking cellulitis were partially treated by oral antibiotics. A recurrence with positive Kanavel's signs suggested flexor tenosynovitis at seven months. Her symptoms improved transiently following emergent surgical open flexor sheath exploration and washout however, she required two further washouts; at eleven and thirteen months to improve symptoms. Viral cultures were obtained from the third washout as HSV infection was disclosed from further history taking. These were positive for HSV2. Treatment with acyclovir at thirteen months after presentation led to a complete resolution of her symptoms with no further recurrences to date. This rare case highlights the similarity in presentation between flexor sheath infection and herpetic whitlow which can lead to diagnostic confusion and mismanagement. We emphasise the importance of careful past medical history taking as well as considering herpetic whitlow as a differential diagnosis despite the presence of strongly positive Kanavel's signs.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus