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Improvements in an oral aspirin challenge protocol for the diagnosis of aspirin hypersensitivity


Dr Liam J. Cormican, Specialist Registrar in Respiratory Medicine, Department of Asthma, Allergy & Respiratory Science, Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Street, London SE1 9RT, UK.


Oral aspirin challenge (OAC) is used to confirm aspirin hypersensitivity (AHs) but there is no consensus on a standardized protocol. As a prior clinical history of adverse reactions to aspirin is poorly predictive of a positive result from formal aspirin challenge, many patients have an OAC performed.

We retrospectively identified and prospectively validated how a 1-day OAC protocol could be modified, and patient selection improved, to deliver a safe and more efficient service.

In a retrospective audit of 45 OACs using a 2 h dose interval, all reactions occurred within 90 min of the threshold dose. Forty OACs were then performed using a 90-min dose interval. This reduced the mean duration of a positive and negative OAC from 6 to 5 h and from 8 to 6 h, respectively.

Histories of multiple manifestations of AHs were found in 91.6% (11) of those with asthma, 87.5% (7) with angiooedema, 70.6% (12) with rhinosinusitis, 63.6% (7) with chronic non-vasculitic urticaria and all with anaphylaxis, who developed a positive OAC. None of those with anaphylaxis, 8.3% (1) with asthma and 12.5% (1) with angiooedema, with a positive OAC, had a history of a single manifestation of AHs.

The efficiency of an OAC service can safely be improved by reduction of the dose interval from 2 to 1 ½ h, and more targeted patient selection, as the likelihood of a positive OAC increases among patients with a history of asthma, angiooedoema or anaphylaxis with multiple manifestations of AHs.