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yellow nail syndrome

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Yellow nail syndrome is characterised by slow growing, thickened yellow nails which are excessively curved in both the longitudinal and lateral planes.

All nails are affected and there is no skin involvement.

  • associated with peripheral lymphoedema and exudative pleural effusions, and less commonly with bronchiectasis, sinusitis and lymphoedema at non-peripheral sites
    • nail changes often precede pulmonary abnormalities - the nail changes have been reported as a paraneoplastic process in various types of carcinomas (1)
    • have been reports of these nail changes after certain medications
    • condition seen mostly in adults, however, some cases have been reported in children
  • affects both the fingernails and toenails
  • majority of patients complain that their nails do not grow
    • loss of the nail cuticle - results in an increase in paronychia
    • if condition persists then onycholysis is seen
  • nail changes may benefit from high-dose vitamin E and or systemic itraconazole (1)
    • there have also been reported cases where there has been spontaneous improvement.

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  1. Zaiac MN, Daniel CR. Nails in systemic disease Dermatologic Therapy 2002;15 (2); 99?106.


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