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Atopic Dermatitis Workup

  • Author: Brian S Kim, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
 
Updated: May 03, 2016
 

Laboratory Studies

No biomarker for the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (AD) is known. Laboratory testing is seldom necessary.

A swab of infected skin may help with the isolation of a specific organism (eg, Staphylococcus or Streptococcus) and antibiotic sensitivity. Allergy and radioallergosorbent testing is of little value.

A swab for viral polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may help identify superinfection with herpes simplex virus and identify a diagnosis of eczema herpeticum.

A complete blood cell count for thrombocytopenia helps exclude Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and testing to rule out other immunodeficiencies may be helpful. This also helps identify peripheral eosinophilia, which may help to support the diagnosis.

A serum IgE level can be helpful to support the diagnosis.

Scraping to exclude tinea corporis is occasionally helpful.

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Histologic Findings

Biopsy shows an acute, subacute, or chronic spongiotic dermatitis, but no specific findings are demonstrated.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Brian S Kim, MD MTR, FAAD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Co-Director, Center for the Study of Itch, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine

Brian S Kim, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Van Perry, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Van Perry, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Peter Fritsch, MD Chair, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Peter Fritsch, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Dermatological Association, International Society of Pediatric Dermatology, and Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Bernice R Krafchik, MBChB, FRCPC Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Dermatology, University of Toronto

Bernice R Krafchik, MBChB, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Dermatological Association, Canadian Medical Association, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Typical atopic dermatitis on the face of an infant.
Flexural involvement in childhood atopic dermatitis.
Dirty neck sign in chronic atopic dermatitis.
Irritation around mouth of an infant with atopic dermatitis.
 
 
 
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