SAEM Clinical Images Series: An Adult with a Lower Extremity Rash


A 37-year-old male with a past medical history of type 2 diabetes presents to the Emergency Department (ED) with a rash. Initial symptoms began one week prior with small spots on the right leg with associated itching and burning. He initially presented to an outside facility where he was diagnosed with an allergic reaction versus scabies and was given a short course of oral steroids and topical permethrin that provided some relief. The rash progressed to bilateral lower extremities prompting re-presentation to the ED. He also reports associated dark urine and nausea.

GI: Abdomen soft, non-tender, non-distended.

MSK: No joint swelling, tenderness, erythema or warmth.

Skin: Numerous scattered bright red palpable purpuric papules and plaques, most concentrated on bilateral lower extremities extending to lower abdomen at the level of the umbilicus.

White blood cell (WBC) count: 14.5 k

Creatinine: 1.1 mg/dL on day of presentation, peaked at 2.2 mg/dL approximately 10 days later.

C-reactive protein (CRP): 32.7 mg/L

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): 34 mm/hr

Urinalysis: 3+ protein, 2+ blood, 11-20 RBC, 26-50 WBC, rare bacteria

This is a case of IgA vasculitis, formerly called Henoch-Schonlein purpura or HSP. This diagnosis is suspected when a patient has purpuric skin lesions predominantly on the lower limbs as well as at least one of the following: abdominal pain, joint involvement, renal involvement (proteinuria/hematuria), and biopsy demonstrating IgA deposition. This vasculitis is more commonly seen in children and has a male predominance.

Similar to children with IgA vasculitis, adults presenting with this palpable purpuric rash can have associated joint involvement and GI involvement, though intussusception is less common in the adult population. Renal manifestations are more common in adults with this diagnosis and range from proteinuria and hematuria to renal failure. Our patient initially presented with hematuria/proteinuria and less than two weeks later had a doubled his creatinine. A renal biopsy later confirmed IgA nephropathy.

Take-Home Points

  • Consider IgA vasculitis in patients with lower extremity purpuric skin lesions with associated abdominal pain/GI bleed, arthralgia, renal involvement, and/or biopsy confirming IgA deposition.
  • In adults with IgA vasculitis, renal involvement is more common and often more severe.

  • Ozen S, Pistorio A, Iusan SM, Bakkaloglu A, Herlin T, Brik R, Buoncompagni A, Lazar C, Bilge I, Uziel Y, Rigante D, Cantarini L, Hilario MO, Silva CA, Alegria M, Norambuena X, Belot A, Berkun Y, Estrella AI, Olivieri AN, Alpigiani MG, Rumba I, Sztajnbok F, Tambic-Bukovac L, Breda L, Al-Mayouf S, Mihaylova D, Chasnyk V, Sengler C, Klein-Gitelman M, Djeddi D, Nuno L, Pruunsild C, Brunner J, Kondi A, Pagava K, Pederzoli S, Martini A, Ruperto N; Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organisation (PRINTO). EULAR/PRINTO/PRES criteria for Henoch-Schönlein purpura, childhood polyarteritis nodosa, childhood Wegener granulomatosis and childhood Takayasu arteritis: Ankara 2008. Part II: Final classification criteria. Ann Rheum Dis. 2010 May;69(5):798-806. doi: 10.1136/ard.2009.116657. PMID: 20413568.
  • Yaseen K, Herlitz LC, Villa-Forte A. IgA Vasculitis in Adults: a Rare yet Challenging Disease. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2021 Jul 1;23(7):50. doi: 10.1007/s11926-021-01013-x. PMID: 34196893.

By |2023-01-20T15:48:31-08:00Jan 30, 2023|Dermatology, Renal, SAEM Clinical Images|

ALiEM AIR | Renal/Genitourinary 2020 Module

Welcome to the AIR Renal/Genitourinary Module! After carefully reviewing all relevant posts from the top 50 sites of the Social Media Index, the ALiEM AIR Team is proud to present the highest quality online content related to renal and genitourinary emergencies. 6 blog posts within the past 12 months (as of May 2020) met our standard of online excellence and were curated and approved for residency training by the AIR Series Board. We identified 1 AIR and 5 Honorable Mentions. We recommend programs give 3 hours (about 30 minutes per article) of III credit for this module.

AIR Stamp of Approval and Honorable Mentions

In an effort to truly emphasize the highest quality posts, we have 2 subsets of recommended resources. The AIR stamp of approval is awarded only to posts scoring above a strict scoring cut-off of ≥30 points (out of 35 total), based on our scoring instrument. The other subset is for “Honorable Mention” posts. These posts have been flagged by and agreed upon by AIR Board members as worthwhile, accurate, unbiased, and appropriately referenced despite an average score.


Interested in taking the renal/GU quiz for fun or asynchronous (Individualized Interactive Instruction) credit? Please go to the above link. You will need to create a free, 1-time login account.

Highlighted Quality Posts: Renal/GU Emergencies

emDocsComplications of Nephrostomy Tubes: ED Presentations, Evaluation, and ManagementMichael J. Yoo, MD11/11/2019AIR
RebelEMPost Contrast Acute Kidney InjurySalim Rezaie, MD1/16/2020HM
EMCritThe Myth of Contrast NephropathyJosh Farkas, MD5/2/2019HM
EMCritNon-Anion Gap Metabolic Acidosis (NAGMA)Josh Farkas, MD9/19/2019HM
emDocsEM@3AM: Kidney Transplant ComplicationsRachel Bridwell, MD12/29/2019HM
CanadiEMTesticular TorsionSubhrata Verma11/12/2019HM

(AIR = Approved Instructional Resource; HM = Honorable Mention)


If you have any questions or comments on the AIR series, or this AIR renal/genitourinary module, please contact us! More in-depth information regarding the Social Media Index.

Thank you to the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) and the Council of EM Residency Directors (CORD) for jointly sponsoring the AIR Series! We are thrilled to partner with both on shaping the future of medical education.

Beyond the Abstract: Systemic Online Academic Resources Review: Renal and Genitourinary

Production and use of free open access medical education resources (FOAM) has had a meteoric rise over the last decade.​1–4​ ALiEM works hard to produce content, disseminate knowledge, and consolidate resources in a democratic and accessible way. However, we recognize that FOAM comes with its own limitations:

  1. Blogs are distinct, individual, and decentralized. How can we search for topic-specific content?
  2. FOAM doesn’t often have peer review. How can we assess quality and accuracy? 
  3. FOAM is produced on an as-needed basis. How do we achieve curricular comprehensiveness?


By |2020-05-28T12:37:11-07:00May 20, 2020|Genitourinary, Renal|

AIR Series: Renal/Genitourinary (2017)

air series renalWelcome to the Renal/GU Module! After carefully reviewing all relevant posts from the top 50 sites of the Social Media Index, the ALiEM AIR Team is proud to present the highest quality Renal/GU content. Below we have listed our selection of the 13 highest quality blog posts within the past 12 months (as of May 2017) related to Renal/GU emergencies, curated and approved for residency training by the AIR Series Board. We identified 3 AIRs and 10 Honorable Mentions. We recommend programs give 4 hours (about 20 minutes per article) of III credit for this module. As of June 2017, over 125 residency programs are using the AIR series – that’s over 1,200 residents completing at least one module in the 2016-2017 academic year!

AIR Series: GU/Renal Module 2015

Welcome to the eighth ALiEM Approved Instructional Resources (AIR) Module! In an effort to reward our residents for the reading and learning they are already doing online we have created an Individual Interactive Instruction (III) opportunity utilizing FOAM resources for U.S. Emergency Medicine residents. For each module, the AIR board curates and scores a list of blogs and podcasts. A quiz is available to complete after each module to obtain residency conference credit. Once completed, your name and institution will be logged into our private database, which participating residency program directors can access to provide proof of completion.


Piperacillin/Tazobactam and Risk of Acute Kidney Injury with Vancomycin

Vanco zosynThere are a few reasons why piperacillin/tazobactam (Zosyn) is not usually my first choice for a broad-spectrum gram-negative agent in the ED. First, at my institution, the Pseudomonas aeruginosa susceptibilities to pip-tazo are lower than that for cefepime. Second, pip-tazo does not have great CNS penetration, especially compared to ceftriaxone, cefepime, or even meropenem. Third, do we really need the anaerobic coverage that pip-tazo provides for every sick patient? Pip-tazo is great for empiric treatment of intra-abdominal and severe diabetic foot infections, but may not be needed for a hospital-acquired pneumonia. Fourth, with its frequent dosing (every 6 hours), too often the second dose is missed if the patient is still boarding in the ED.


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