Epidermolysis bullosa complications include:

  • Infection. Blistering skin is vulnerable to bacterial infection.
  • Sepsis. Sepsis occurs when bacteria from a massive infection enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
  • Deformities. Severe forms of epidermolysis bullosa can cause fusion of fingers or toes and abnormal bending of joints (contractures), such as those of the fingers, knees and elbows.
  • Malnutrition and anemia. Blisters in the mouth can make eating difficult and lead to malnutrition. This may lead to anemia (such as low iron levels in the blood), delayed wound healing or, in children, slowed growth.
  • Dehydration. Large, open blisters can cause loss of body fluid that leads to severe dehydration.
  • Constipation. Difficulty passing stool may be due to painful blisters in the anal area. It can also be caused by not ingesting enough liquids or high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Eye disorders. Inflammation of the eye can harm the clear covering over the eye (cornea) and, sometimes, cause blindness.
  • Skin cancer. Adolescents and adults with certain types of epidermolysis bullosa are at high risk of developing a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Death. Infants with a severe form of junctional epidermolysis bullosa are at high risk of infections and loss of body fluids from widespread blistering. Their survival also may be threatened because of blistering, which may hamper their ability to eat and breathe. Many of these infants die in childhood.
Aug. 22, 2014