urticaria is one of the most common diseases in dermatology and allergy. Unlike many other
diseases, the fl eeting nature of the wheals makes fi rst diagnosis by both patients and physicians
in many cases easy. However, this only refers to the ordinary wheals. The disease itself
is highly complex in nature, with variety of clinical manifestations ranging from pinpointsized
wheals to extensive angiodema. Complexity is also seen in the diversity of possible
eliciting factors, the many different clinical subtypes and the therapeutic responsiveness.
Only in recent years has a better understanding of the diversity in the different subtypes
led to new classifi cations and new evidence-based guidelines for diagnostics and management
of the disease. While mast cells are in the center of most urticaria reactions, it is now
clearly understood that the responsible mediators are not only limited to histamines.
The current book appears in a series of books by Springer. In 1986, the fi rst monograph
was edited by Professor Henz née Chanewsky. Since then, two updates of the book have
appeared in the German language with Professor Henz as fi rst editor and T. Zuberbier,
J. Grabbe, and E. Monroe as the co-editors of the most recent English version, published in
1998. All these books have been written as a joint effort of Professor Henz together with her
team at the Department of Dermatology at the Virchow Clinic, Humboldt University, Berlin.
With the retirement of Professor Henz from her chair as head of the department of dermatology
and novel guidelines available, the current group of editors has taken up the task
of developing a completely new setup for the book. A group of internationally known
authors in the fi eld of urticaria have been asked to write different chapters, focusing on
practical guidelines regarding diagnosis and therapy.
This book is designed to be a useful reference for dermatologists, allergologists, pediatricians,
and practitioners in general medicine, laying out clear-cut standard operating procedures
on how to manage this disease effi ciently.
Berlin, Germany Prof. Dr. Torsten Zuberbier
Norwich, UK Dr. Clive Grattan
Berlin, Germany Prof. Dr. Marcus Maurer
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