Diagnostic Tests in Allergy

  • Dennis R. Ownby
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


Many physicians have the mistaken impression that allergic disease is diagnosed by allergy testing. The diagnosis of allergic disease is primarily dependent on the patient’s history of signs and symptoms typical of allergic disease during or shortly after allergen exposure. A common clinical example is a patient who states that every time he or she visits a home with a pet cat, he or she develops red, itchy eyes and sneezing. The ocular and nasal symptoms are typical of allergic disease, and the onset of symptoms when in homes with pet cats suggests that the symptoms are related to exposure to cat allergen. Two additional factors to consider when evaluating a history are the number of times the patient has noted the association between allergen exposure and symptoms, and whether similar symptoms occur at other times. If the symptoms are exclusively related to cat exposure and have occurred on multiple occasions, the diagnosis is relatively certain. The final step in confirming a diagnosis of cat allergy would be demonstration that the patient has detectable cat-specific IgE antibodies.


Skin Test Allergic Disease Eosinophil Cationic Protein Allergen Exposure Intradermal Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Suggested Reading

  1. Adinoff AD, Rosloniec DM, McCall LL, Nelson HS. A comparison of six epicutaneous devices in the performance of immediate hypersensitivity skin testing. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1989; 84: 168–174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernstein IL. The proceedings of the task force on guidelines for standardizing old and new technologies used for the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1988; 82: 487–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Council on Scientific Affairs. In vivo diagnostic testing and immunotherapy for allergy. Report I, part II, of the allergy panel. DAMA 1987; 258: 1505–1508.Google Scholar
  4. Council on Scientific Affairs. In vivo diagnostic testing and immunotherapy for allergy. Report I, part I, of the allergy panel. JAMA 1987; 258: 1363–1367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Demoly P, Bosquet J, Manderscheid JC, Dreborg S, Dhivert H, Michel FB. Precision of skin prick and puncture tests with nine methods. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1991; 88: 758–762.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hepner MJ, Ownby DR, Anderson JA, Rowe MS, Sears-Ewald D, Brown EB. Risk of systemic reactions in patients taking beta-blocker drugs receiving allergen immunotherapy injections. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990; 86: 407–411.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Klink M, Cline MG, Halonen M, Burrows B. Problems in defining normal limits for serum IgE. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990; 85: 440 111.Google Scholar
  8. Kristjansson S, Shimizu T, Strannegârd IL, Wennergren G. Eosinophil cationic protein, myeloperoxidase and tryptase in children with asthma and atopic dermatitis. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 1994; 5: 223–229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lockey RF, Benedict LM, Turkeltaub PC, et al. Fatalities from immunotherapy and skin testing. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1987; 79: 660–677.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ownby DR. Allergy testing: In vivo versus in vitro. Pediatr Clin North Am 1988; 35: 995–1009.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Schwartz LB. Tryptase: a clinical indicator of mast cell-dependent events. Allergy Proc 1994; 15: 119–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Williams PB, Dolen WK, Koepke JW, Selner JC. Immunoassay of specific IgE: use of a single point calibration curve in the modified radioallergosorbent test. Ann Allergy 1992; 69: 48–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis R. Ownby

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations