Skin Manifestations in COVID-19 Patients: Are They Indicators for Disease Severity? A Systematic Review

Parnian Jamshidi, Bahareh Hajikhani, Mehdi Mirsaeidi, Hassan Vahidnezhad, Masoud Dadashi, Mohammad Javad Nasiri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Until now, there are several reports on cutaneous manifestations in COVID-19 patients. However, the link between skin manifestations and the severity of the disease remains debatable. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the temporal relationship between different types of skin lesions and the severity of COVID-19. Methods: A systematic search was conducted for relevant studies published between January and July 2020 using Pubmed/Medline, Embase, and Web of knowledge. The following keywords were used: “SARS-CoV-2” or “COVID-19” or “new coronavirus” or “Wuhan Coronavirus” or “coronavirus disease 2019” and “skin disease” or “skin manifestation” or “cutaneous manifestation.” Results: Out of 381 articles, 47 meet the inclusion criteria and a total of 1,847 patients with confirmed COVID-19 were examined. The overall frequency of cutaneous manifestations in COVID-19 patients was 5.95%. The maculopapular rash was the main reported skin involvement (37.3%) commonly occurred in middle-aged females with intermediate severity of the disease. Forty-eight percentage of the patients had a mild, 32% a moderate, and 20% a severe COVID-19 disease. The mild disease was mainly correlated with chilblain-like and urticaria-like lesions and patients with vascular lesions experienced a more severe disease. Seventy-two percentage of patients with chilblain-like lesions improved without any medication. The overall mortality rate was 4.5%. Patients with vascular lesions had the highest mortality rate (18.2%) and patients with urticaria-like lesions had the lowest mortality rate (2.2%). Conclusion: The mere occurrence of skin manifestations in COVID-19 patients is not an indicator for the disease severity, and it highly depends on the type of skin lesions. Chilblain-like and vascular lesions are the ends of a spectrum in which from chilblain-like to vascular lesions, the severity of the disease increases, and the patient's prognosis worsens. Those with vascular lesions should also be considered as high-priority patients for further medical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number634208
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 16 2021


  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus – COVID-19
  • disease severity
  • mortality
  • prognosis
  • skin - pathology
  • skin manifestations
  • systematic literature search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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