• cord blood;
  • IgE;
  • atopy;
  • wheeze

There is considerable interest in identifying children at high risk for developing atopic diseases for primary prevention. This study evaluates risk factors for detectable cord blood IgE and assesses CB-IgE in predicting asthma and other IgE-mediated allergic diseases in children at high risk because of family history. Cord blood was obtained as part of a randomized controlled trial assessing the efficacy of an intervention program in the primary prevention of IgE-mediated allergic diseases. CB-IgE was measured and the degree to which this was associated with perinatal risk factors was assessed. The cohort was then evaluated for atopic disorders at 7 yrs of age to assess the predictive value of CB-IgE. Fifty-five (19.3%) of infants had detectable CB-IgE (≥0.5 kU/l). Maternal atopy and birth in winter months were risk factors associated with detectable CB-IgE. CB-IgE was found to be significantly associated with allergic sensitization (OR 2.22; 95% CI 1.11, 4.41) and recurrent wheeze at 7 yrs (OR 2.51, 95% CI 1.09, 5.76) but not with other outcomes. CB-IgE may be a useful measure for identifying children at high risk of atopic diseases for the purpose of primary prevention.