Common features of atopic dermatitis with hypoproteinemia

Korean J Pediatr. 2018 Nov;61(11):348-354. doi: 10.3345/kjp.2018.06324. Epub 2018 Sep 16.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the causes, symptoms, and complications of hypoproteinemia to prevent hypoproteinemia and provide appropriate treatment to children with atopic dermatitis.

Methods: Children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis with hypoproteinemia and/or hypoalbuminemia were retrospectively reviewed. The patients' medical records, including family history, weight, symptoms, treatment, complications, and laboratory test results for allergies and skin cultures, were examined.

Results: Twenty-six patients (24 boys) were enrolled. Seven cases had growth retardation; 7, keratoconjunctivitis; 6, aural discharges; 5, eczema herpeticum; 4, gastrointestinal tract symptoms; and 2, developmental delays. In 21 cases, topical steroids were not used. According to the blood test results, the median values of each parameter were elevated: total IgE, 1,864 U/mL; egg white-specific IgE, 76.5 kUA/L; milk IgE, 20.5 kUA/L; peanut IgE, 30 kUA/L; eosinophil count, 5,810/μL; eosinophil cationic protein, 93.45 μg/L; and platelet count, 666.5×103/μL. Serum albumin and total protein levels decreased to 2.7 g/dL and 4.25 g/dL, respectively. Regarding electrolyte abnormality, 10 patients had hyponatremia, and 12, hyperkalemia. Systemic antibiotics were used to treat all cases, and an antiviral agent was used in 12 patients. Electrolyte correction was performed in 8 patients.

Conclusion: Hypoproteinemia accompanying atopic dermatitis is common in infants younger than 1 year and may occur because of topical steroid treatment continuously being declined or because of eczema herpeticum. It may be accompanied by growth retardation, keratoconjunctivitis, aural discharge, and eczema herpeticum and can be managed through skin care and topical steroid application without intravenous albumin infusion.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Hypoalbuminemia; Hypoproteinemia.