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Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum


Frank Pessler

, MD, PhD, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2022
Topic Resources

Pseudoxanthoma elasticum is a rare genetic disorder characterized by calcification of the elastic fibers of the skin, retina, and cardiovascular system. Diagnosis is clinical. There is no specific treatment, but intravitreal injections of angiogenesis-blocking antibodies may be given for angioid streaks.

Characteristic cutaneous papular lesions begin in childhood and are primarily of cosmetic concern. They appear as small yellowish papules that typically occur on the neck and axillae and flexural surfaces. Elastic tissues become calcified and fragmented, leading to disruption of the involved organ systems:

  • Ocular system: Angioid streaks of the retina, retinal hemorrhages, and gradual vision loss

  • Cardiovascular system: Premature atherosclerosis with subsequent intermittent claudication, hypertension, angina, and myocardial infarction

  • Vascular fragility: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage and small-vessel bleeding with subsequent anemia

Diagnosis of Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum

  • Clinical evaluation

Diagnosis of pseudoxanthoma elasticum is based on clinical and histologic findings.

Laboratory and imaging studies are done for associated conditions (eg, complete blood count, echocardiography, head CT).

Treatment of Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum

  • Angiogenesis-blocking antibodies for angioid streaks

Intravitreal injections of angiogenesis-blocking antibodies (eg, bevacizumab) show promise as an off-label treatment option for retinal angioid streaks.

Otherwise, there is no specific treatment, and the aim is to prevent complications. People should avoid drugs that may cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, such as aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticoagulants. Blood lipid levels should be well controlled Elevated LDL-C treatment Dyslipidemia is elevation of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides (TGs), or both, or a low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level that contributes to the development of atherosclerosis... read more Elevated LDL-C treatment to reduce risk of premature atherosclerosis and associated vascular complications. People with pseudoxanthoma elasticum should avoid contact sports because of the risk of injury to the eye.

Complications may limit life span.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
Alymsys, Avastin, MVASI, Zirabev
Anacin Adult Low Strength, Aspergum, Aspir-Low, Aspirtab , Aspir-Trin , Bayer Advanced Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin Extra Strength, Bayer Aspirin Plus, Bayer Aspirin Regimen, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Bayer Extra Strength, Bayer Extra Strength Plus, Bayer Genuine Aspirin, Bayer Low Dose Aspirin Regimen, Bayer Womens Aspirin , BeneHealth Aspirin, Bufferin, Bufferin Extra Strength, Bufferin Low Dose, DURLAZA, Easprin , Ecotrin, Ecotrin Low Strength, Genacote, Halfprin, MiniPrin, St. Joseph Adult Low Strength, St. Joseph Aspirin, VAZALORE, Zero Order Release Aspirin, ZORprin
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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