• food allergy;
  • food challenge;
  • food challenge outcome;
  • predictive model

To cite this article: Zomer-Kooijker K, Slieker MG, Kentie PA, van der Ent CK, Meijer Y. A prediction rule for food challenge outcome in children. Pediatric Allergy Immunology 2012: 23: 353–359.


Background:  In children with food-related symptoms, a food challenge is considered as the gold standard to diagnose allergy. If food allergy could be predicted by patient history and/or diagnostic tests, the number of time-consuming and sometimes risky food challenges could be decreased. We aimed to determine questionnaire and test-based characteristics, to predict the food challenge outcome (FCO) in children referred to a tertiary centre for the evaluation of food-related symptoms.

Methods:  Pre-challenge standardized questionnaires, skin prick tests (SPT), and specific IgE levels (sIgE) were obtained in patients that underwent a food challenge in our hospital in 2009. Characteristics of patients with positive and negative FCO were compared, and uni- and multivariate associations between predictors and FCO were calculated. Based on the multivariate model, a risk score was developed to predict the FCO.

Results:  One hundred and twenty-nine challenges were analyzed, 41.9% had a positive outcome. Median age of both groups was 4.9 yrs (range 2.8–8.3). Patients with a positive FCO reacted faster with symptoms after allergen ingestion and had higher sIgE levels compared to children with negative FCO. A clinical risk score was developed based on the index food, ‘time between allergen ingestion and complaints’ and sIgE levels (range 0–10). The prognostic capacity of this model (AUC) was excellent (0.90). The very high- and low-risk groups (24% of patients) are both predicted excellent without misclassification.

Conclusion:  Positive FCO can be predicted by the index food, time between allergen ingestion and development of symptoms, and the sIgE level.