Dispelling the Myths Behind Pediatric Patch Testing—Experience from Our Tertiary Care Patch Testing Centers


Address correspondence to Sharon E. Jacob, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego--Rady, Division of Dermatology, Rady Children's Hospital, 8010 Frost Street, Suite 602, San Diego, CA 92123, or e-mail: sjacob@contactderm.net.


Abstract:  Allergic contact dermatitis is now known to be a common problem in pediatric populations, accounting for up to 20% of all dermatitis seen in children. Seminal studies conducted over the past decade have demonstrated a prevalence rate in the range of 25% to 60% of children referred for epicutaneous patch testing. This patch test procedure is generally accepted as the gold standardin vivo technique to diagnose allergic contact dermatitis. However, the overwhelming majority of research studies to date have been conducted on adult populations. Increasingly, pediatric patients are undergoing patch test procedures with techniques that have been standardized and optimized almost exclusively in adults. With this article, we hope to emphasize common misconceptions and pitfalls encountered with this approach. In addition, we hope to stimulate research interest in this field so as to determine the optimum patch test conditions and techniques for children.