(HealthDay News) — Self- and caregiver-reported history of eczema is valid for identifying atopic dermatitis (AD), according to a study published online July 17 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Jonathan I. Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues performed a prospective multicenter dermatology practice-based study at three sites to examine the validity of caregiver- and self-reported ever and one-year history of eczema. Unselected patients were surveyed with questionnaires. Seven hundred eighty-two patients were then assessed by expert dermatologists.

The researchers found that, compared with a physician diagnosis of AD at that visit, caregiver-reported one-year history of childhood eczema had a sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.70, 0.96, and 0.87, respectively. The corresponding values were 0.70, 0.95, and 0.76 for self-reported one-year history of adult eczema. Ever-history of caregiver- and self-reported eczema had high specificity (0.89 and 0.97, respectively) and PPV (0.81 and 0.91, respectively), with high sensitivity in children but not adults (0.83 vs. 0.43).

“Self- and caregiver-reported diagnosis of eczema ever or in the past year based on a single question demonstrates sufficient validity for the epidemiological study of AD,” the authors write.

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