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Dermatitis artefacta in pediatric patients: experience at the national institute of pediatrics

Marimar Saez-de-Ocariz, Luz Orozco-Covarrubias, Ignacio Mora-Magaña, Carola Duran-McKinster, Lourdes Tamayo-Sanchez, Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, Ramon Ruiz-Maldonado
Pediatric Dermatology 2004, 21 (3): 205-11
Dermatitis artefacta is a factitious disorder in which there is deliberate conscious production of skin lesions. There are only a few reports that evaluate instances of dermatitis artefacta in the pediatric population. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the characteristics of patients with this disorder who were seen at the National Institute of Pediatrics in Mexico City. The records of all patients diagnosed with dermatitis artefacta from January 1980 to December 1999 were analyzed. There were 29 patients (25 females, 4 males). The upper limbs and the face were the most commonly involved areas. Superficial erosions were the most frequent initial event, and residual lesions consisted of scars and crusts. Time taken to diagnosis was on average 10 months. Half of the patients were lost to follow-up. No correlation was found between the length of time from the disease onset to diagnosis, the type of lesions, and the clinical outcome. Twelve patients had an associated systemic disorder. The possible association with chronic disease has not been sufficiently stressed and demonstrates the importance of providing psychological support for these patients. Psychiatric diagnoses were anxiety, depression, and personality disorder. No correlation was found between the psychiatric diagnosis and the outcome of dermatitis artefacta. A young age at presentation, which has been considered important as a favorable prognostic sign, could not be demonstrated in our patients.

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