Chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis as a marker of internal syndromes associated with microvascular injury
Chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis (CNH) is held to be an idiopathic degenerative process involving the upper dermis of the auricular rim. Chondrodermatitis typically occurs in elderly men where associations with underlying trauma and sun exposure have been postulated as potential inciting triggers. Its association as a marker of systemic disease is not well established. We describe 24 patients with CNH, in whom there were also significant underlying diseases largely associated with vascular injury including those of immune-based etiology and/or conditions which have been previously linked with granuloma annulare, another necrobiotic process of collagen. These patients with concomitant systemic disease were characteristically younger compared to the classic demographics described for CNH. In some cases, chondrodermatitis may represent an ischemic necrobiotic disorder of collagen, potentially defining an important sign of underlying systemic disease in younger patients.