Skin prick test and specific serum IgE in the diagnosis of suspected allergy in children: does one replace the other?

Food allergy diagnosis is generally made using one method – either by the measurement of serum specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) or by skin prick testing (SPT). However, sometimes there is little correlation between the two tests. The study by the Department of Pediatric Pneumology and Immunology at the Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany, investigated whether suspected food allergy can really be diagnosed satisfactorily with one of these methods.

The researchers took 395 children with suspected cow’s milk allergy and measured the sIgE, gave a SPT and performed an oral food challenge. Of the 395, 92 (23%) showed no corresponding results between the SPT or sIgE as either positive or negative.

The researchers also took 268 children with suspected hen’s egg allergy, and gave them the same three tests. Of these children, 27 (10%) had differing results for the SPT and sIgE.

The researchers conclude that the tests should not be used interchangeably. Children who receive a negative test especially should be given an alternative test. The data examined showed that oral food challenges are still the method of choice for diagnosis.

Source: Clinical and Experimental Allergy

First Published in August 2012


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