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Case report
Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn
  1. Niamh O' Brien and
  2. Breda Hayes
  1. Neonatology, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Niamh O' Brien; niamhobrien36{at}


A term infant developed subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn (SFNN) 17 days following completion of therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy. Initial calcium was normal, however hypercalcaemia requiring hyperhydration and furosemide developed at 4 weeks. Parathyroid hormone and vitamin D were suppressed. At 13 months, she remains on low calcium formula, and has gross motor delay, central hypotonia and early hand preference. Review of 102 articles yielded 119 SFNN cases. Asphyxia was reported in 78%. Twenty-one per cent had hypoglycaemia. Twenty per cent underwent therapeutic hypothermia. Median onset of skin lesions was day 6 (range: 1–70), with a median duration of 62 days (range: 14–390). Hypercalcaemia developed in 53% (median onset day 28, range: 1–210). Fifty-two per cent of hypercalcaemia was asymptomatic. Outcome information was provided in 106/119 cases; 87% reported a full resolution. Persistent calcinosis was present in 6%. Babies treated with therapeutic hypothermia should be closely monitored for SFNN, and development of hypercalcaemia.

  • neonatal and paediatric intensive care
  • paediatrics

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  • Contributors NOB wrote the case report and performed the literature review. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel. BH was responsible for the study, supervising the case report and literature review, providing input and editorial advice where necessary.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.