Prevalence of Elevated Total IgE and Food Allergies in a Consecutive Series of ENT Pediatric Patients
Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, New York, NY, September, 2004.
Food allergies in childhood have been found to vary in frequency from 6% to 8% in the general population. Previous studies indicate milk allergy affects approximately 2.5% of infants and egg allergy has been estimated at 1.6% to 2.6%. Numerous allergists believe that the prevalence of food allergies is rising, similar to the rise in other atopic conditions. Prior studies have demonstrated that food-specific IgE is a useful test for diagnosing symptomatic allergies to certain foods, including milk and eggs, and could decrease the need to perform cumbersome multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges in children based on history alone. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of food allergies and elevated IgE in a consecutive series of pediatric otolaryngology patients.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING
ImmunoCap™ studies were drawn in a 2-year series of children undergoing ENT procedures of bilateral myringotomy with tubes (BMT) with or without adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy alone between 2001 and 2003. Sera was analyzed for increased total IgE antibodies, as well as specific IgE antibodies to antigens, including milk, egg, beef, and environmental allergens. A positive patient history or family history of allergy were documented.
A total of 242 patients were assessed. Of the study population, milk allergy was found in 10.7%; egg white allergy was found in 5.0%. The prevalence of elevated IgE among participants was 11.2%. The overall food allergy prevalence was 14.5%.
Although we cannot imply causality, the study demonstrated an increased prevalence of food allergy in children undergoing ENT procedures, specifically milk and eggs, than in previous population studies.