Prevalence and morphology of hand eczema in patients with atopic dermatitis

Eric L. Simpson, Michele M. Thompson, Jon M. Hanifin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with hand eczema frequently have a history of atopic dermatitis or atopy. No specific morphologic pattern of hand eczema helps distinguish atopic hand eczema from other etiologies. There are few studies of hand eczema prevalence and morphology in a well-defined population of patients with atopic dermatitis. Methods: We evaluated 777 consecutive patients with atopic dermatitis (diagnosed by standard criteria) for hand involvement. An additional 100 patients had further evaluations, including evaluation of the historical and morphologic characteristics of their hand eczema. Results: The prevalence of hand involvement in patients with active atopic dermatitis was 58.9% (458 of 777 patients). Nail dystrophy was present in 16% (124 of 777) of patients. There was a significant trend toward an increasing prevalence of hand involvement with increasing age. Hand eczema tended to involve primarily the dorsal hand surfaces and the volar wrist. Conclusions: The hands are frequently involved in patients with active atopic dermatitis and present unique physical, social, and therapeutic challenges for patients. During the evaluation of patients presenting with hand eczema, the involvement of dorsal hand surfaces and the volar wrist may suggest atopic dermatitis as a contributing etiologic factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology


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