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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 149-151

Sweet's syndrome with nodular scleritis: A rare case report

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Government Medical College, Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Regional Hospital Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication7-Oct-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anubhav Chauhan
Senior Resident, Department of Ophthalmology, Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar Government Medical College, Nahan, District Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2394-7438.191682

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Sweet's syndrome is a disease of unknown etiology characterized by eruption of painful, erythematous, cutaneous plaques, and nodules of rapid onset accompanied by fever, leukocytosis, and neutrophilia. We report a case of a 52-year-old female having Sweet's syndrome with nodular scleritis.

Keywords: Dermatological, scleritis, Sweet′s syndrome

How to cite this article:
Chauhan A, Sharma N, Sharma SD. Sweet's syndrome with nodular scleritis: A rare case report. MAMC J Med Sci 2016;2:149-51

How to cite this URL:
Chauhan A, Sharma N, Sharma SD. Sweet's syndrome with nodular scleritis: A rare case report. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Sep 19];2:149-51. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2016/2/3/149/191682

  Introduction Top

Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis, first described in 1964 by Robert Douglas Sweet, has been termed as Sweet's syndrome. Involvement of the eyes, joints, oral mucosa, lungs, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system has been described. [1] It is a dermatological disorder with accompanying features of systemic inflammation. Ocular involvement most commonly is in the form of conjunctivitis, others being periorbital and orbital inflammation, dacryoadenitis, episcleritis, scleritis, limbal nodules, peripheral ulcerative keratitis, iritis, glaucoma, and choroiditis. The ocular inflammation appears concurrently with skin lesions. [2] Herein, we report a case of Sweet's syndrome with ocular involvement.

  Case Report Top

A 52-year-old female presented to the skin department of a secondary care institute of the hilly state with high-grade fever for 4 days accompanied by skin lesions and painful red left eye [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]. There was a history of sore throat 1 week before the onset of skin lesions. The lesions were present over dorsal aspect of the feet, anterior aspect of the legs, forearms bilaterally and were erythematous, noduloplaques varying from 1 cm × 1 cm to 2 cm × 3 cm in size and tender on palpation with pseudovesiculation. On hematological investigations, positive findings were leukocytosis (10,000 cmm) with predominant neutrophilia (80%), elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (30 mm in the first hour), and positive C-reactive proteins. A provisional diagnosis of Sweet's syndrome was made, and a punch skin biopsy of the skin lesion was sent for histopathological examination. The patient was started on tablet prednisolone 1 mg/kg once a day along with tablet azithromycin 500 mg once a day (for 3 days) plus tablet hydroxyzine 25 mg at night (for 10 days).
Figure 1: Skin lesion

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Figure 2: Scleritis

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The patient was referred to the eye department for the evaluation of painful red left eye, and a diagnosis of nodular scleritis was made by an ophthalmologist on the basis of a characteristic eye lesion (scleral nodule in the interpalpebral area with a reddish-blue color) and a further confirmation by phenylephrine test, where instillation of 2.5% and 5% phenylephrine drops did not blanch/reduce the redness of the eye. The patient was further advised blood investigations in the form of rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibodies, serum angiotensin converting enzymes, anti-nuclear cytoplasmic antibodies, antiphospholipid antibodies, Lymes titer, QuantiFERON-TB gold test, herpes markers, blood culture, and serum calcium as a number of systemic diseases are associated with scleritis. All the above investigations were within normal limits. The patient was advised to continue prednisolone (1 mg/kg) for 2 weeks and then taper the dose over the next 2 weeks.

The patient reported to us after 2 weeks with her histopathological report which showed findings consistent with Sweet's syndrome, i.e. dermal infiltrate composed predominately of neutrophils. There was marked improvement in her skin and ocular signs and symptoms, and prednisolone dose was subsequently tapered. This is a rare case report in which Sweet's syndrome was associated with nodular scleritis.

  Discussion Top

The exact pathogenesis of Sweet's syndrome remains unknown. Altered immunological reactivity in the form of hypersensitivity to bacterial, viral, tumor antigens, or circulating immunocomplex reaction and cytokine deregulation are the proposed etiopathological factors. [3] It may be associated with a viral upper respiratory tract infection, hematologic and visceral malignancies, medications, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and pregnancy. It can be classified into three subtypes: (1) Classical or idiopathic, (2) associated with hematological malignancies, (3) associated with solid malignant visceral neoplasms. The first category accounts for most (80-90%) of the reported cases. [4] Ours was a case of classical Sweet's syndrome [Table 1].
Table 1: Diagnostic criteria for classical Sweet's syndrome versus drug - induced Sweet's syndrome

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Histopathological findings include a dense dermal infiltrate composed of neutrophils with leukocytoclasis and prominent papillary dermal edema occasionally producing subepidermal vesiculation or bullae. [5] Incidence is usually in the fourth or fifth decade with a peak in January and February. One study found that Sweet's syndrome accounted for 4/1000 new cases in a dermatological unit. [6] It is five times more common in females than in males. [6] Our case was seen in the 52-year-old female.

Fever is the most frequent symptom. Indeed, the skin eruption of Sweet's syndrome is usually accompanied by fever and leukocytosis. However, the cutaneous manifestations of the disease may be preceded by several days to weeks of fever. The incidence of ocular involvement is variable in classical Sweet's syndrome. However, ocular lesions of Sweet's syndrome are uncommon in the malignancy associated and drug-induced forms of the dermatosis. [7]

First-line agents in the treatment include oral prednisolone, potassium iodide, colchicine, and intravenous methylprednisolone. Usually, there is a dramatic response to systemic steroids. However, rarely, there may be a need to institute the second-line drugs in resistant or steroid-dependent cases. These include indomethacin, clofazimine, dapsone, cyclosporine, and cyclophosphamide. [3] Sweet's syndrome in association with scleritis has been described only by some authors, [8],[9] and the use of steroids, colchicine, and dapsone as treatment modalities.

We want to emphasize the need for a high index of suspicion, early diagnosis, timely intervention, and regular follow-up in such cases.


We would like to thank our patient.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Von den Driesch P. Sweet′s syndrome (acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis). J Am Acad Dermatol 1994;31:535-56.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gottlieb CC, Mishra A, Belliveau D, Green P, Heathcote JG. Ocular involvement in acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis (Sweet syndrome): New cases and review of the literature. Surv Ophthalmol 2008;53:219-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kapoor A, Beniwal S, Narayan S, Kalwar A. Sweet′s syndrome in accelerated chronic myelogenous leukemia: A case report and review of literature. Clin Cancer Investig J 2014;3:112-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
  Medknow Journal  
Requena L, Kutzner H, Palmedo G, Pascual M, Fernández-Herrera J, Fraga J, et al. Histiocytoid Sweet syndrome: A dermal infiltration of immature neutrophilic granulocytes. Arch Dermatol 2005;141:834-42.  Back to cited text no. 4
Malone JC, Slone SP, Wills-Frank LA, Fearneyhough PK, Lear SC, Goldsmith LJ, et al. Vascular inflammation (vasculitis) in Sweet syndrome: A clinicopathologic study of 28 biopsy specimens from 21 patients. Arch Dermatol 2002;138:345-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lear JT, Atherton MT, Byrne JP. Neutrophilic dermatoses: Pyoderma gangrenosum and Sweet′s syndrome. Postgrad Med J 1997;73:65-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Cohen PR. Sweet′s syndrome - A comprehensive review of an acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis. Orphanet J Rare Dis 2007;2:34.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wong MH, Su DH, Loh RS. Nodular scleritis and Sweet′s syndrome. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol 2007;35:858-60.  Back to cited text no. 8
Mazokopakis E, Kalikaki A, Stathopoulos E, Vrentzos G, Papadakis JA. Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis (Sweet′s syndrome) with erythema nodosum and anterior scleritis. A case report. Int J Dermatol 2005;44:1051-3.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1]


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