The pathogenesis is thought to be mediated by complement activation of immune-complex deposition. Leprosy bacilli invade blood vessel endothelium, causing endothelial proliferation and narrowing of the vascular lumen. Reports have suggested that certain stressors, such as pregnancy, concurrent infection, and cold weather, may precipitate Lucio phenomenon.
Manifestations of Lucio phenomenon typically occur 1-3 years after onset of leprosy. Patients present with sudden onset of painful violaceous plaques that may become hemorrhagic, bullous, and then ulcerated. Subcutaneous nodules may be a feature. The lower extremities are affected most frequently, but the forearms and buttocks may also be involved. Ulcers heal with atrophic scars after 2-4 weeks. Although constitutional symptoms are rare, patients may have fever, myalgia, or arthralgia. Lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and leukocytosis with neutrophilia may be seen.
Lucio phenomenon may be complicated by sepsis from superadded infection.
A30.8 – Other forms of leprosy
228007 – Lucio phenomenon
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls