Atopic dermatitis in the elderly Caucasian population: diagnostic clinical criteria and review of the literature

Camilla Chello, Giorgia Carnicelli, Alvise Sernicola, Nazareno Gagliostro, Giovanni Paolino, Marco Di Fraia, Valentina Faina, Rovena Muharremi, Teresa Grieco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing eczematous dermatitis typically affecting young patients in a percentage from 15 to 20%; although it typically affects young people and adults, recent papers highlighted the emerging of the disease in the elderly population. Methods: The aim of the study was to identify the clinical criteria and allergic sensitization that may be able to support physicians and dermatologists in making a correct diagnosis of AD in the elderly. The second aim of this study was to investigate the incidence, the main features, the gender prevalence, the immunological profile, and comorbidities characterizing patients older than 65 years affected by AD. Results: Based on clinical and serological patterns, different phenotypes of AD were identified: generalized AD (55%) characterized by eczematous lesions involving typical areas of the body or prurigo nodularis-like AD; chronic eczematous hand dermatitis (23%); face and neck involvement (9%); and nummular eczema (13%). Skin prick tests revealed a positivity for aeroallergens in 49.6% of patients, most of them being polysensitized (55%). Additionally, food skin prick tests were positive in 25% of patients. Most of the patients reported comorbidities, particularly IgE-mediated diseases, such as seasonal rhino-conjunctivitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as meteorism, dyspepsia, cramps/abdominal pain, and diarrhea/constipation, were observed in 35% of patients consequent to food allergy. Conclusion: In our study, we suggest clinical and serological criteria that may be able to guide in the diagnosis of AD in Caucasian elderly, and to design an appropriate treatment according to the current standard protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-721
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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