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Clinical analyses of atopic dermatitis in the aged


Ryoji Tanei, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital, 35-2 Sakaemachi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-0015, Japan. Email:


The aim of the present study was to analyze the characteristics of atopic dermatitis (AD) in the senile phase. Subjects were comprised of 16 patients investigated for clinical features, serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels and skin manifestations. Mean age was 76.9 ± 6.2 years (range, 68–87), with a man : woman ratio of 3:1. Mean age at onset was 67.7 ± 15.7 years. Eight patients (50%) had personal histories of chronic eczema until the young adult phase and three patients (18.8%) showed the classic course of child AD. Eczematous erythroderma in 10 patients (62.5%) and unclassified chronic eczema in five patients (31.3%) were the predominant clinical presentations. Mean total IgE level in sera of the 16 patients was 8810 ± 13 511 IU/mL (range, 5–53 605). Fourteen patients showed positive results for antigen-specific IgE antibodies, and the mean total IgE level for these patients was 10 056 ± 14 044 IU/mL. Specific IgE to the main antigen, Dermatophagoides farinae, was observed in 12 patients (85.7%), representing the principal antibody in eight patients (57.1%). Eczematous dermatitis manifested predominantly in the face and neck, trunk and extensor and flexure sites of extremities, and less commonly in the antecubital and popliteal areas. Other stigmata of AD were observed as follows: red face in 10 patients (62.5%); Hertoghe's sign in six (37.5%); goose-skin in four (25%); facial pallor in three (18.8%); and dirty neck in one (6.3%). These results indicate that senile-type AD represents a characteristic subgroup of AD that appears in the last stage of life in AD patients.