Patients hospitalized for atopic dermatitis were less likely to die in the 10 years they were followed by researches than those hospitalized for psoriasis, but people with either disease were seen to have much higher mortality rates — most often from cardiovascular disease and cancer — than the general population.
The researchers’ study, “Ten-year mortality is increased after hospitalization for atopic dermatitis compared with the general population, but reduced compared with psoriasis,” was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a type of inflammation of the skin, that causes itchy, red, swollen, and cracked skin. Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease which, similar to AD, is characterized by patches of abnormal skin. These skin patches are typically red, itchy, and scaly. Although previous studies have found increased risk of mortality in people with psoriasis, no studies have yet examined mortality in patients with AD.
Alexander Egeberg with the Department of Dermatology and Allergy at the University of Copenhagen and colleagues used nationwide Danish registers, spanning 1996 to 2002, of all Danes age 18 or older with a first-time hospitalization for AD or psoriasis.
A total of 576 patients with AD and 951 with psoriasis were included in the analysis, with a maximum follow-up of 10 years. Data from both groups were then compared with that of 5,760 matched healthy controls (general population).
During the study’s years, 65 people with AD and 286 with psoriasis died, most often of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Patients with atopic dermatitis had a lower mortality risk per 100 person-years than those with psoriasis. These results was seen in all age categories.
While the risk of death was lower in patients with AD than in those with psoriasis, it was higher compared to the general population. Patients hospitalized with AD died on average 8.3 years younger than controls, the researchers found. Predictors of mortality included increasing age, male sex, smoking, and a number of comorbidities.
“After adjustments for differences in age, sex, socioeconomic status, comorbidity and medication, the risk of death was 25% lower among patients with [atopic dermatitis] compared with psoriasis, but 71% higher than the general population,” the researchers wrote, according to a news release. “These data add to the accumulating evidence about the burden of comorbidities in patients with chronic inflammatory skin disease and emphasize that patients with AD also require careful information about lifestyle risk factors.”
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