HealthDay News — Cellulitis is frequently misdiagnosed in the inpatient setting, according to research published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Lauren Strazzula, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the national incidence of cellulitis misdiagnosis among inpatients. Data were reviewed from 1,430 inpatient dermatology consultations from four medical centers, conducted in 2008.

The researchers found that 5.17% of inpatient dermatology consultations were requested for the assessment of cellulitis. Almost three-quarters (74.32%) of those evaluated for cellulitis were diagnosed with pseudocellulitis. The rate of misdiagnosis did not vary significantly across institutions (P=0.12). There was no significant difference noted in patient demographics and associated risk factor prevalence for those given a diagnosis of cellulitis versus pseudocellulitis (P>0.05).

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“This study demonstrates that an inpatient dermatology consultation for patients admitted with cellulitis improves diagnostic accuracy, and in turn, may be a cost-effective strategy that decreases unnecessary hospitalization and improves patient care,” the authors write. “This research highlights the need for more comprehensive training in the diagnosis and management of dermatologic disease in undergraduate and graduate medical education.”


  1. Strazzula L et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015; doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.11.012.