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Comparison of skin-prick test and specific serum IgE determination for the diagnosis of latex allergy


Dr Blanco Guerra Sección de Alergia, Hospital Ntra. Sra. del Pino, C/Angel Guimerá, 93, 35005 Las Palmas de G. C., Spain.



Latex IgE-mediated hypersensitivity has been recognized as an international health problem. However, there is poor information on the efficiency of the diagnostic methods available.


The purpose of this study was to specify the efficiency of several diagnostic methods for latex allergy.


We designed a prospective study involving 50 adult patients with latex allergy, as diagnosed by a suggestive clinical history and a positive skin-prick test (SPT) to a latex extract. One control group of 50 subjects paired for age, sex, total IgE levels and latex exposure, and another control group of 30 subjects with pollen allergy were used. A low-ammoniated natural-latex and several glove-latex extracts were elaborated. SPTs with these extracts, as well as with four different commercial-latex extracts were performed. Latex-specific serum IgE was determined by the CAP and the AlaSTAT methods.


Diagnostic sensitivity was 98% for the natural-latex extract SPT, from 90% to 98% for the commercial-latex extract SPT, and from 64% to 96% for the glove-latex extract SPT. Diagnostic specificity of SPT was 100%, and no severe adverse reactions were observed during skin testing. With respect to the latex-specific serum IgE determinations, sensitivity was 86% for the CAP system and 84% for the AlaSTAT assay, and specificity was dependent on the population considered.


SPT with natural latex extracts has shown a diagnostic efficiency close to 100%, significantly higher than that of latex-specific serum IgE determination.