Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Spectrum of autoimmune bullous diseases in Kuwait.

BACKGROUND: Autoimmune bullous diseases (ABDs) are a rare but significant group of dermatoses that pose great challenges to the treating dermatologist. Most epidemiological studies have focused on a single ABD. Few surveys have been carried out to describe the whole spectrum of ABDs in a region, and no such studies are available from the Arabian Peninsula.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the clinico-epidemiological features of various ABDs in Kuwait, and to compare the results with those reported elsewhere.

METHODS: A total of 128 cases of ABDs were studied over a span of 11.5 years. The diagnosis in all cases was confirmed by histopathology, and direct and indirect immunofluorescence (IMF). The diagnosis of various subepidermal ABDs was further confirmed by indirect IMF on salt-split skin (SSS) and that of pemphigus by desmoglein 1 and 3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

RESULTS: Eighty seven per cent of patients were of Arab ethnicity. Pemphigus was observed to be the commonest ABD (47%), followed by pemphigoid (22%), pemphigoid gestationis (PG) (19%), linear IgA bullous disease (LABD) (7%), lichen planus pemphigoides (LPP) (3%), and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) (2.3%). The minimum estimated incidence in the local population was 4.6, 2.14, 1.83, 0.69, 0.30, and 0.23 cases per million per year, respectively. Pemphigus patients were observed to have a younger age of onset (36.50 +/- 11.36 years) than reported elsewhere. BP, although the second commonest ABD, was less prevalent than in Europe and Singapore, and BP patients were observed to have a striking female predominance (85%). The prevalence of PG was much higher than that reported elsewhere. LABD was the fourth commonest ABD, and 89% of patients were children.

CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that similar surveys from different regions would expand our understanding of ABD.

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