Objectives To determine the prevalence of fingerprint verification failure and to define and quantify the fingerprint changes associated with fingerprint verification failure.
Design Case-control study.
Setting Referral public dermatology center.
Patients The study included 100 consecutive patients with clinical hand dermatitis involving the palmar distal phalanx of either thumb and 100 age-, sex-, and ethnicity-matched controls. Patients with an altered thumbprint due to other causes and palmar hyperhidrosis were excluded.
Main Outcome Measures Fingerprint verification (pass/fail) and hand eczema severity index score.
Results Twenty-seven percent of patients failed fingerprint verification compared with 2% of controls. Fingerprint verification failure was associated with a higher hand eczema severity index score (P < .001). The main fingerprint abnormalities were fingerprint dystrophy (42.0%) and abnormal white lines (79.5%). The number of abnormal white lines was significantly higher among the patients with hand dermatitis compared with controls (P = .001). Among the patients with hand dermatitis, the odds of failing fingerprint verification with fingerprint dystrophy was 4.01. The presence of broad lines and long lines was associated with a greater odds of fingerprint verification failure (odds ratio [OR], 8.04; 95% CI, 3.56-18.17 and OR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.31-4.27, respectively), while the presence of thin lines was protective of verification failure (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.89).
Conclusions Fingerprint verification failure is a significant problem among patients with more severe hand dermatitis. It is mainly due to fingerprint dystrophy and abnormal white lines.
Trial Registration Malaysian National Medical Research Register Identifier: NMRR-11-30-8226