Background:Hand eczema (HE) is a chronic multifactorial dermatosis with the presence of endogenous and exogenous factors in its pathogenesis. The etiologic diagnosis of hand eczema is often difficult.
Objectives:The objectives of this study were (1) to detect clinical history and clinical examination data capable of differentiating HE types; (2) to determine the importance of patch tests for the etiologic diagnosis of HE; and (3) on the basis of the definitive diagnosis of HE type with the aid of patch tests, to obtain relevant data for appropriate patient guidance for the control of HE.
Methods:A total of 250 patients with HE were studied over a period of 3 years (1993 to 1995). All patients were submitted to the battery of patch tests.
Results and Conclusions:The results obtained led to the following conclusions: (1) Women are more predisposed to HE. (2) Work under moist conditions favors HE. (3) With respect to the regional location of HE, any region may be involved in any type of HE; however, involvement of the dorsal region is more common in allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), followed by contact dermatitis owing to primary irritation (ICD) and atopic dermatitis (AD). Location of HE on the dorsal surface of the fingers was mainly observed in ACD, followed by ICD and AD. (4) Patch tests should be part of the investigative routine of HE etiology. (5) The presence of allergy to metals in the clinical history of the patient is a relevant feature, because patch tests confirmed sensitization to nickel in 89% of cases. (6) Rubber components have high sensitization frequency in patients with HE. (7) When the patient reports worsening of HE after the use of rubber gloves, this indicates a probable sensitization to rubber components, mainly in patients with AD.
From the Sector of Allergy/Dermatology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Santa Casa de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.
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©1998American Contact Dermatitis Society