• atopic skin diathesis;
  • diagnostic feature of atopy;
  • diagnostic scoring systems;
  • disturbed vasoreactivity;
  • vascular pattern of the palm

Background:  Atopic skin diathesis is a clinical term to describe skin atopics with previous, present or future atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS). In clinical practice, an unequivocal assessment of atopic skin diathesis in non-eczematous patients may be difficult. The majority of the known clinical features included in diagnostic scores are characteristic, but not specific markers of atopy. Especially, the vasoreactivity of atopic skin is disturbed. This is manifested by white dermographism, an irregular vascular response to thermal stimuli, and paradoxic skin reactions to histamine, cholinergic agents, and nicotinates.

Objective:  The aims of our study were to investigate the clinical morphology of palmar vascular reactions in skin atopic and non-atopic individuals, and to determine whether this abnormal vascular reaction is more pronounced in skin atopic individuals.

Methods:  Forty persons, 20 of them skin atopics, assessed by the Erlangen Atopy Score and an elevated serum IgE level (>150 U/ml), were included in a prospective single-centre study. Standardized digital photographs of the palms were presented in a blinded manner to five dermatologists in random order by means of the computerized imaging analysis system KS400 3.0.

Results:  Evaluation of the original rgb (red, green, blue) color images and modified gray-level images showed that a pronounced reticular pattern of erythema of the palms was significantly (P < 0.0001) more common in skin atopics (72% and 69.6%, respectively).

Conclusion:  The gross vascular pattern of the palm might be an additional diagnostic feature of atopy, and further studies are needed to establish its exact prevalence.