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Hidradenitis suppurativa in paediatric patients: a retrospective monocentric study in Germany and review of the literature.

BACKGROUND: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory, recurrent, debilitating skin disease of the hair follicle affecting apocrine glands-rich areas of the body. The disease usually occurs after puberty leading to painful nodules, abscesses, tunnels and scarring. Although uncommonly, HS can also occur in children and adolescents.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to describe the epidemiology, characteristics, predisposing factors and clinical course of HS in paediatric patients.

METHODS: The retrospective cohort study included patients with HS, who have been diagnosed in Dessau Medical Center and reported development of HS during childhood or adolescence, fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for HS and had a follow-up period of at least one year. A systematic review was conducted on MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL on 19 March 2020 using the terms 'hidradenitis' or 'acne inversa' together with the terms 'children', 'paediatric' and 'adolescence'.

RESULTS: Twenty paediatric patients [1 child (0.22%), 19 adolescents (4.25%)] were detected out of 447 patients evaluated (4.5%) with a male to female ratio of 1.86 : 1. The median age at diagnosis was 17 years [interquartile range (IQR) 16-18] and the median age at onset 15 years (IQR: 14-16.5). The majority of the patients suffered from moderate disease were overweight or obese and non-smokers. The most common comorbid disorder was acne vulgaris. The systematic review revealed reports with data heterogeneity and lack of systematic documentation of specific demographic characteristics. Most paediatric patients were female, obese and non-smokers, with considerable comorbid disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: Hidradenitis suppurativa in Germany may affect children and adolescents exhibiting a particular phenotype of mainly male non-smokers.

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