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Prevalence of IgE sensitization in Danish children with suspected asthma

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this article was to estimate the prevalence of IgE sensitization in Danish children with suspected asthma and to characterize the pattern of sensitization.

Study design

We performed a cross-sectional study including 1744 children from 0 to 15 yr suspected of asthma who were referred to pediatric outpatient clinics in the region of southern Denmark from 2003 to 2005. The children were subjected to an extensive questionnaire-based interview, clinical examination, and both skin prick testing (SPT) and IgE measurements for 17 allergens.

Results

Asthma was confirmed in 1024 of the 1744 children. Among the children in whom the asthma diagnosis was confirmed, sensitization to one or more of the 17 allergens tested was found in 67.5% by either SPT or s-IgE ≥ class 2. Sensitization to any food allergen was found in 31.1%, to any outdoor allergen in 36.2%, and to any indoor allergen in 51.8%. Sensitization to cockroach and latex was rare. We found a weak correlation between SPT and s-IgE among food allergens and a more distinct correlation among inhalant allergens. Surprisingly, 30.1% of children in whom the asthma diagnosis was disproven used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). On the contrary, 32.5% of the children for whom the asthma diagnosis was verified were not treated with ICS.

Conclusion

We have found a high prevalence of sensitization among children with verified asthma. Our study supports relevant allergy testing in all children with verified asthma and emphasizes the importance of a thorough asthma diagnosis before prescribing continuous inhaled corticosteroids to children.

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