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allergen, allergy, contact sensitization, chronic leg ulcers, patch test, polysensitization, pruritus, ulcer



  1. Raudonis, Tadas MD
  2. Vankeviciute, Rasa Aurelija MD
  3. Lideikaite, Andre MD
  4. Grigaityte, Anna Greta
  5. Grigaitiene, Jurate PhD, MD


OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency of contact sensitization among patients with chronic leg ulcers; to identify the most common allergens; and to examine possible relationships to ulcer duration, itching, exudate, and leg eczema.


METHODS: Researchers conducted a 5-year retrospective analysis of 145 patients diagnosed with chronic leg ulcers who underwent skin patch testing with S-1000, LU-1000, and the commonly used dressing and antiseptic series.


RESULTS: Investigators included 88 females (60.7%) aged 64 +/- 15.1 years and 57 males (39.3%) aged 61 +/- 16.4 years. Of these, 62.8% (n = 91) of patients were sensitized to at least one substance (2.6 +/- 1.4 allergens on average). The most common allergens were benzalkonium chloride (18.6% [n = 27]), balsam of Peru (17.9% [n = 26]), and povidone-iodine 10% (17.2% [n = 25]). Finally, 40% (n = 58) of patients presented with pruritus around the ulcer, which was strongly associated with a positive patch test reaction (74.1% [n = 43] vs 55.2% [n = 48]; P = .021) and polysensitization (3.5 sensitivities [95% confidence interval, 2.4-4.6] vs 2 [95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.8]).


CONCLUSIONS: Contact sensitization is very common in patients with chronic leg ulcers, and pruritus around the ulcer is associated with contact allergy as well as polysensitization.