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Clin Dermatol. 2011 Jan-Feb;29(1):69-79. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.07.010.

Autoimmune blistering diseases in the elderly.

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1
Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, 1365 Clifton Rd NE, Ste 1100, Building A, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. srsingh@emory.edu

Abstract

Autoimmune blistering diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. Given the advancing age of the population, the incidence of these disorders, particularly bullous pemphigoid, is expected to rise. This contribution reviews autoimmune immunobullous disorders of particular relevance in the elderly population. These include bullous pemphigoid, cicatricial pemphigoid, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, pemphigus, paraneoplastic pemphigus, and linear immunoglobulin A bullous dermatosis. Because therapy and management of individual immunobullous dermatoses differ, establishing the diagnosis is often critically important. An overall approach to bullous diseases in the elderly, as well as key clinical features, appropriate diagnostic tests, microscopic findings, immunofluorescence microscopy patterns, and molecular targets for select disorders are reviewed. Elucidation of antigenic targets at the molecular level has allowed for development of serum enzyme-linked immunofluorescence assays, which have enhanced diagnostic accuracy for several autoimmune blistering disorders. Given the relative rarity of these diseases, large randomized trials evaluating efficacy of various treatments are few, and therapy for most immunobullous disorders in the elderly has not been standardized. Despite this, appropriate therapeutic considerations for each condition are presented and the evidence for them is reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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