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Clinical characteristics of pediatric patients evaluated for primary immunodeficiency


Andrew MacGinnitie, MD, PhD, Division of Immunology, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston MA 02445, USA.
Tel.: 617-919-2488
Fax: 617-730-0310


To cite this article: MacGinnitie A, Aloi F, Mishra S. Clinical characteristics of pediatric patients evaluated for primary immunodeficiency. Pediatric Allergy Immunology 2011; 22: 671–675.


Objective:  When to evaluate a child for possible immune deficiency is a challenge, as many children have frequent infections for which they are treated with antibiotics. We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of children evaluated for possible primary immunodeficiency in a specialist clinic. We specifically aimed to evaluate widely promulgated ‘warning signs of primary immunodeficiency’ and to evaluate the relationship between primary immunodeficiency and atopy.

Methods:  A retrospective analysis of 141 children who underwent testing for possible primary immunodeficiency was undertaken.

Results:  Thirty-two (23%) children were diagnosed with an underlying primary immunodeficiency, and published warning signs were neither sensitive nor specific for primary immunodeficiency. Patients with allergy as determined by the presence of antigen-specific IgE were more likely to be diagnosed with immunodeficiency.

Conclusions:  Widely promulgated warning signs did not distinguish between patients with and without primary immunodeficiency. Likewise, primary immunodeficiency and allergy may coexist.