02 August 2013

A healthy baby with harlequin color change

A 4-day-old, full-term, healthy female infant underwent a change in skin color from normal to red over one half of her body... consistent with harlequin color change — the development of redness on the dependent side of the body, with simultaneous blanching of the contralateral side... Up to 10% of infants undergo this color change, which occurs between the second and fifth days of life. The shifts from normal to red color usually clear up completely within 3 weeks. Harlequin color change is thought to be caused by aberrant dilatation of the peripheral vasculature, possibly as a result of incomplete development of the hypothalamus.
Credit: Bethou Adhisivam, D.N.B. (Ped.), and Venkatesh Chandrasekaran, D.N.B. (Ped.), publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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