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Assessment of a qualitative serological assay to screen for allergic sensitization in elderly subjects

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We used a commercially available specific IgE qualitative serological assay to screen for allergic sensitization. Two hundred twenty-eight elderly subjects took part in the study. Skin-prick tests (SPTs) to a panel of relevant aeroallergens present in the study area were used as the diagnostic reference procedure (gold standard). Subjects with at least one positive SPT (≥3 mml n = 76) were considered to have developed an allergic sensitization. The qualitative assay correctly classified subjects as sensitized to an allergen or not sensitized in 257 of 288 cases (accuracy, 88.9%; 95% CI, 85.0‐92.0%). The qualitative assay sensitivity was 70.0 (95% CI, 58.1‐79.7) and specificity was 95.7 (95% CI, 92.1‐98.0), positive predictive value (PPV) was 85.4 (95% CI, 85.1‐93.4), negative predictive value (NPV) was 89.8 (95% CI, 85.1‐93.4), positive likelihood ratio (LR+) was 16.5 (95% CI, 8.7‐31.6), negative LR (LR) was 0.31 (95% CI, 0.21‐0.43), and the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) was 52.2 (95% CI, 21.5‐133.6). In the elderly subjects with respiratory symptoms, the qualitative assay correctly classified subjects as allergen sensitized or nonsensitized in 81 of 89 cases (accuracy, 91.0; 95% CI, 85.0‐96.9). In this subgroup, the qualitative assay sensitivity was 94.6 (95% CI, 85.1‐98.8), specificity was 84.8 (95% CI, 68.1‐94.9), PPV was 91.3 (95% CI, 81.0‐97.1), and NPV was 90.3 (95% CI, 74.2‐97.9). LR+ was 6.2 (95% CI, 3.0‐14.2), LR was 0.06 (95% CI, 0.02‐0.17), and the DOR was 98.9 (95% CI, 18.0‐621.4). The qualitative serological assay is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of allergic sensitization in a population of elderly subjects.

Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; Phadiatop; assay; diagnosis; diagnostic odds ratio; elderly; likelihood ratios; skin prick test; specific IgE

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Universitàdegli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Publication date: 2013-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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