Clinical evaluation of 168 korean patients with rosacea: the sun exposure correlates with the erythematotelangiectatic subtype

You In Bae, Sook-Jung Yun, Jee-Bum Lee, Seong-Jin Kim, Young Ho Won, Seung-Chul Lee
Annals of Dermatology 2009, 21 (3): 243-9

BACKGROUND: Although rosacea is a chronic cutaneous inflammatory disorder that's commonly seen in adults, the etiology and pathogenesis of the illness remain unclear. A well established diagnostic classification and grading system may play a critical role in performing research and it would serve as a diagnostic reference in the clinical field.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to classify the patients with the new standard classification and grading system and we wanted determine the peculiar features and relationships of each subtype. We also analyzed the relationships between the degree of sun exposure and each subtype.

METHODS: We reviewed the medical records and clinical photos of 168 patients who were diagnosed with rosacea from 2002 to 2007 at our hospital. The standard classification and grading system suggested by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) Expert Committee was adopted to evaluate each patient's subtype and the severity.

RESULTS: The male:female ratio was 1:2.29. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 47.8 years. The mean duration of disease was 3.5 years. Sun exposure and hot baths/exercise were the two most common precipitating factors, while the majority of patients did not have any specific factor that relieved their symptoms. According to the NRS classification and grading system, the patients were classified into four subtypes. One hundred sixty two (96.4%) patients were diagnosed with the erythematotelangiectatic subtype irrespective of severity. Eighty five (50.6%) patients had the papulopustular subtype and 24 (14.3%) patients had ocular rosacea. Eight (4.8%) patients displayed mild phymatous change. The degree of sun exposure had significant correlation with the development and severity of the erythematotelangiectatic subtype (p<0.05), while it had no correlation with the papulopustular, ocular and phymatous subtypes.

CONCLUSION: Although the erythematotelangiectatic subtype was the most common subtype of rosacea, many patients also had other subtypes of rosacea simultaneously. Based on our results, we proved that ocular rosacea is an extension of the clinical spectrum of erythematotelangiectatic rosacea. In addition, the results of our study particularly suggest that sun exposure has a different influence on each subtype of rosacea.

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