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Keywords:

  • peanut allergy;
  • oral food challenge;
  • child;
  • parental satisfaction;
  • dietary management;
  • patient education

Nguyen M, Wainstein BK, Hu W, Ziegler JB. Parental satisfaction with oral peanut food challenges; perception of outcomes and impact on management of peanut allergy. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 1119–1126. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Oral peanut food challenges (OPFC) are the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing peanut allergy in children. However, there are few data on parental perception of such challenges. We aimed to investigate the parental experience of and satisfaction with OPFC and reported dietary management of children with a history of peanut allergy following OPFC. Telephone interviews were conducted with parents of children who had undergone an open-label OPFC at a specialist paediatric allergy centre. Forty-six of 76 eligible parents participated. Of those parents, 54% were very satisfied with the OPFC. The highest levels of satisfaction were reported in relation to (i) clarification of the severity of the child’s peanut allergy (ii) the support provided by staff and (iii) determining the child was tolerant of peanut or assessed to be at low risk of anaphylaxis from accidental peanut exposure. When the outcome of the challenge was perceived to be equivocal, levels of parental satisfaction were lower. Other areas of dissatisfaction included difficulties inducing peanut ingestion, parental distress at seeing their child unwell and perception of inadequate follow-up. Ninety-four per cent of parents could not remember the amount of peanut ingested, and 24% could not remember whether management advice was given after the OPFC or reported that none was given. Reported compliance with recalled advice to avoid peanut was found in all cases but one, whilst recalled advice to reintroduce peanuts following a negative challenge was followed in 5/9 cases. Although 12 parents reported that their child had an allergic reaction caused by accidental exposure to peanut since the OPFC, only four were certain peanut was the cause. Comprehensive education, counselling and follow-up subsequent to an OPFC are required. Parents of children whose challenge outcome is inconclusive should be targeted for support.