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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2007 May;18(3):231-9.

Combining skin prick, immediate skin application and specific-IgE testing in the diagnosis of peanut allergy in children.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.


Previous studies have suggested various diagnostic cut-offs of allergy tests for the diagnosis of clinical peanut allergy in children. There are few data relating to the use of combinations of these tests in children. We aimed to determine the validity of previously reported diagnostic cut-off levels of peanut allergen skin tests and peanut specific-immunoglobulin (Ig) E, as well as the usefulness of combinations of these, for predicting clinical peanut allergy in our Allergy Clinic. Children attending the Allergy Clinic with a positive peanut skin prick test (SPT; n = 84) were included in the study. Immediate skin application food tests (I-SAFT) using 1 g of peanut butter (positive if any wheals were detected at 15 min), peanut specific-IgE levels and open-label peanut food challenges were performed. Fifty-two of 85 peanut challenges were positive. Skin prick test specificity was 67% at >or=8 mm and 100% at >or=15 mm. The I-SAFT was 82% specific. A peanut specific-IgE level of 0.37 kU/l was 98% sensitive but 33% specific. A level of 10 kU/l was 100% specific. Combinations of a SPT of >or=8 mm with a positive I-SAFT and a peanut specific-IgE >or=0.37 kU/l were 88% specific with a sensitivity of 38%. Using challenge outcomes as the standard, available in vitro and in vivo diagnostic tests for peanut allergy have poor sensitivity and specificity and combining them does not significantly improve their clinical usefulness. Previously described diagnostic cut-off levels do not have general applicability. Allergy practitioners may need to interpret results of allergy tests in the context of their own practices.

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