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Keywords:

  • allergies;
  • atopy;
  • questionnaire;
  • sensitivity;
  • specificity;
  • specific IgE;
  • total IgE;
  • validation

Background

We have started a large birth cohort study in which pregnant women with and without atopy are differentially included. In view of the large number of subjects to be screened (12 000), a simple questionnaire was developed for the assessment of atopy in pregnant women.

Objective

The objective of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of a questionnaire using serum IgE tests.

Methods

During a antenatal visit to the midwife clinic, 175 expecting mothers completed a questionnaire and from each subject blood was obtained in which total and specific IgE against house dust mite, cat, dog, birch and grass was determined.

Results

When atopy was defined as the presence of a positive test for IgE against at least one allergen, seven questions from the questionnaire had a sensitivity and specificity of 55.0% and 88.7%, respectively. With the use of the questionnaire it was possible to select about 50% of the subjects with specific IgE to one or more common inhalant allergens. The positive predictive value of the screening questions was 71.7%. Taking total IgE into account did not change these results.

Conclusion

The screening questionnaire is an efficient tool for differential inclusion of subjects with and without atopy in epidemiological studies.