How is atopic dermatitis (AD) diagnosed?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Cassandra Bradby, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is made by observing representative clinical features of the disease. The Hanifin and Rajka diagnostic criteria, which consist of 4 major and 23 minor criteria has traditionally been used, but it is time consuming and not manageable. The UK working group on atopic dermatitis has the following criteria for diagnosis, which has been most extensively validated in clinical trials. [8] Evidence of itchy skin with 3 more of the following:

  • History of skin crease involvement

  • History of other atopic disease (or a history in a first-degree relative for a child younger than 4 years)

  • Presence of generally dry skin within in the past year

  • Symptoms in a child beginning before age 2 years

  • Visible involvement of dermatitis involving flexural surfaces

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