Auspitz’ Sign

A quick overview of Auspitz’ sign (or symptom) and what it means to psoriasis patients.

Auspitz’ Sign, or Auspitz’ Symptom (named after Heinrich Auspitz, 1835-1886), is simply slow, pin-point bleeding after the physical removal of a psoriasis scale, or when scaling is not present, a light scraping of psoriatic skin. Auspitz’ Sign occurs because the capillaries under the epidermis are numerous and twisted, and very close to the surface. Removing a scale or scraping the skin basically rips open the very top-most capillaries, resulting in the seepage of blood from those capillaries.

Auspitz’ Sign can be used as a diagnostic tool for psoriasis, with the caveat that some other diseases also produce Auspitz’ Sign. The combination of inflamed, thickened skin with silvery scales and Auspitz’ Sign, however, appears to be unique to psoriasis. On the other hand, a report from 1990 (Bernhard) concludes that only the minority of psoriasis patients exhibit Auspitz’ Sign, meaning it’s not a very good test even with other psoriasis symptoms, but this report, as far as I can tell, has been largely ignored.


General Information

Citations, Articles & Abstracts

Auspitz sign is not sensitive or specific for psoriasis.” Bernhard, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 1990 Jun;22(6 Pt 1):1079-81

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