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Study
October 2005

Distinguishing Androgenetic Alopecia From Chronic Telogen Effluvium When Associated in the Same Patient: A Simple Noninvasive Method

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Endocrinological and Metabolic Sciences, Section of Dermatology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(10):1243-1245. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.10.1243
Abstract

Background  Distinguishing chronic telogen effluvium (CTE) from androgenetic alopecia (AGA) may be difficult especially when associated in the same patient.

Observations  One hundred consecutive patients with hair loss who were clinically diagnosed as having CTE, AGA, AGA + CTE, or remitting CTE. Patients washed their hair in the sink in a standardized way. All shed hairs were counted and divided “blindly” into 5 cm or longer, intermediate length (>3 to <5 cm), and 3 cm or shorter. The latter were considered telogen vellus hairs, and patients having at least 10% of them were classified as having AGA. We assumed that patients shedding 200 hairs or more had CTE. The κ statistic revealed, however, that the best concordance between clinical and numerical diagnosis (κ = 0.527) was obtained by setting the cutoff shedding value at 100 hairs or more. Of the 100 patients, 18 with 10% or more of hairs that were 3 cm or shorter and who shed fewer than 100 hairs were diagnosed as having AGA; 34 with fewer than 10% of hairs that were 3 cm or shorter and who shed at least 100 hairs were diagnosed as having CTE; 34 with 10% or more of hairs that were 3 cm or shorter and who shed at least 100 hairs were diagnosed as having AGA + CTE; and 14 with fewer than 10% of hairs that were 3 cm or shorter and who shed fewer than 100 hairs were diagnosed as having CTE in remission.

Conclusion  This method is simple, noninvasive, and suitable for office evaluation.

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