Vietnam's first case of hematidrosis successfully cured

Hematohidrosis is a rarely seen disease with only 200 infected cases reported so far globally. In Vietnam, a 24-year old man became the first Hematohidrosis patient. After three years of treatment, he has recovered.

When wearing white sandals, the area that was in contact with the skin would turn red. Source: Vietnamnet

Hematidrosis, hematohidrosis and hemidrosis—these are all names for one rare disease that makes the patient excrete blood from intact skin. Without any open lesions or wounds, it would seem that the patient is sweating blood. Blood would leach out from the body’s orifice like eyes and ears—with palms and hands being common outlets.

Hematohidrosis has been thought to be non life-threatening. It does, however, leave a patient dehydrated and lethargic from the bouts of anxiety and the loss of both blood and sweat. Scientists believe the phenomenon occurs when someone falls into a state of excessive fear and stress.

Of the nearly 200 cases recorded so far in the world, many were prisoners under the death penalty who experienced the phenomenon on the day before the execution date. In other cases, the patients were crew members who faced storms at sea that could sink their ships. Other patients were those who lost their loved ones.

The causes behind Hermatohidrosis remain unclear. However, scientists believe that extreme stress, serious tension, and psychological disorder over a long period play a very important role in the pathogenesis of this rare phenomenon.

Dr Tran Hau Khang, chair of the Vietnam Dermatology Association and former director of the Central Dermatology Hospital, treated the patient. He said the patient met him for consultancy in May 2018 at the introduction of a professor at Hanoi Medical University.

The young man said every time he ran or did heavy work, his sweat would be red. When wearing white shirts and white sandals, the area that was in contact with the skin would turn red.

The phenomenon appeared about one month before he visited the doctor. He had gone for examinations at many hospitals, but doctors were unable to identify the cause.

Khang, who has spent many years researching rare diseases and dermatological phenomena, questioned the patient and performed a clinical examination. He thought that it was possibly Hermatohidrosis.

Two tests considered the gold standards in diagnosis of the disease were taken. They included a test to find the components of red blood cells in perspiration and the biopsy of skin to view pathological images.

After one week, the two tests showed positive results. The patient was then confirmed as suffering from Hermatohidrosis and became the first Hermatohidrosis patient in Vietnam.

The 24-year-old man said that he suffered from constant anxiety, regular mental tension, and insomnia.

Khang stressed that while Hematohidrosis patients all have experienced emotional trauma or extreme stress, not everyone with psychological problems is susceptible to the phenomenon.

In order to treat Hermatohidrosis, Khang mostly prescribed sedatives to ease tension and relieve insomnia. He also offered consultations on how to relieve psychological disorder and avoid stress. 

Thu Ha