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Université de Montréal. Assessment of Allergy. Allergy testing. Presented by Sylvie Daigle , RN, BSc. Assessment of Allergy. The term " Allergy " Allergic reaction Assessment of atopy Skin or immunological testing. What is Allergy?. Also known as Hypersensitivity Disease.

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Assessment of Allergy


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    1. Université de Montréal Assessment of Allergy Allergy testing Presented bySylvie Daigle, RN,BSc

    2. Assessment of Allergy • The term "Allergy" • Allergic reaction • Assessment of atopy • Skin or immunological testing

    3. What is Allergy? Also known as Hypersensitivity Disease

    4. Definition • The term allergy ( von Pirquet -1906), can be summarized as the acquired, specific, altered capacity to react. • From Greek words: allos "change, altered" +ergon "reaction, reactivity". • Acquired means prior adequate antigenic or allergenic exposure.

    5. Allergy has increased Incidence of allergy has doubled in the last 20-30 years, why? • Less exposure to parasitic disease? • Lower rate of breast-feeding ? • Exposures to air pollution? • Exposure to allergens in town vs in the country • The "hygiene hypothesis"?

    6. Classification of allergic reaction by Gell & Coombs * Type I Anaphylaxis (IgE) Atopic diseases (immediate) Type II Cytotoxic Autoimmune hemolyticanemia Type III Immune complex Farmer’s lung (IgG) Type IV Delayed allergySkin reaction to tuberculin First published in 1968 : «Clinical aspects of immunology

    7. Assessment of Atopy • Clinical ⇨ essential for asthma management (in particular if pets at home, in relation to the pollen seasons, etc.) • Epidemiologic studies • Occupational investigation

    8. Type I Hypersensitivity Detection • Skin Prick Testing, recommended to assess atopic status • RAST (ELISA), serum specific antibodies • Intradermal Skin Testing: more sensitive than prick testing but less specific, with risk of anaphylactic reaction; also, difficulty of interpretation (local trauma due to injection)

    9. Skin Prick Test Widespreaded in the 1970s after its modification by J. Pepys • Advantages • Mechanisms • Technique • Interpretation • Factors affecting skin test

    10. House dust mite Ragweed, tree pollen Pets Cockroaches Molds Occupational protein allergens Relevant allergens (ubiquitous, occupational)

    11. Occupational protein allergens Many occupational agents cause asthma by sensitization • mostly high-molecular-weight proteins • some low-molecular-weight agents In the case of high-molecular-weight allergens , skin prick tests are the preferred diagnostic correlates of Ig-E sensitization

    12. Advantages • Skin prick testing is cheap, rapid and accurate • High degree of specificity • Safe and painless • Wide range of allergens • Objective evidence of sensitization

    13. Technique and reaction • Introduction of allergen extract into the dermis • Ig-E-mediated response • Allergen-induced wheal-and-flare reaction

    14. Technique • Use the inner forearm • Mark the area to be tested (2 cm apart) • Place a drop of each allergen extract on each mark • Prick the skin through the drop • Use a new lancet/needle for each allergen • Negative (saline solution) and positive control (histamine phosphate, 10 mg/ml) must be included: to exclude false positive reactions (dermographism) and false negative reactions (intake of antihistamines)

    15. Put drops of allergen Prick the skin through extracts on the skin the drop

    16. INTERPRETATION • Read at their peak (15-20 minutes) • Measure with a millimeter rule • Largest + smallest of wheal and erythema 2 • The wheal is principally used (diameter) • What if the negative control is positive? • What if the positive control is negative? • The size of the wheal does not relate to the severity of symptoms

    17. Common errors in prick testing • Tests too close together (< 2 cm) • Induction of bleeding, leading possibly to false-positive results • Insufficient penetration of skin by lancet leading to false-negative • Spreading of allergen solutions during the tests.

    18. Causes of false-positive skin prick tests • Irritant reaction •Dermographism • Contamination of an allergen extract • Enhancement from a nearby strong reaction Causes of false-negative skin prick tests • Extract of diminished potency • Medications modulating allergic reaction • Diseases attenuating the skin response, e.g. eczema • Improper technique (no or weak puncture)

    19. Factors affecting skin test results • Quality of the allergen extract (standardized) • Area of the body, wrist least reactive • Age, less reactive after 50 • Circadian rhythms do not affect the skin reaction • Drugs: short acting antihistamines inhibit the wheal-and-flare reaction for up to 24 h; long- acting antihistamines may affect reaction for up 4-5 days.

    20. CONCLUSIONS •When properly performed, skin tests represent one of the major tools for diagnosis of Ig-E-mediated diseases. • Assessment of the atopic status of subjects is often included in epidemiological studies of asthma and occupational asthma because atopy is a risk factor.

    21. Natural history of sensitization, symptoms and diseases in apprentices exposed to laboratory animalsD Gautrin, H Ghezzo, CInfante-Rivard, J-L Malo. Eur Respir J, 2001. Predictive value of specific skin reactivity for W-R symptoms Skin reactivity PPV 28% 30% 21% 30% 9% W-R symptoms Skin Nasal Ocular Nasal and/or ocular Respiratory before 21 18 14 17 9 same time 22 17 16 19 4 PPV of W-R RC symptoms for probable OA : 11.4%

    22. references - Bernstein IL, Chan-Yeung M, Malo JL, Bernstein DI. Asthma in the Workplace. Francis & Taylor, 2006 - Middleton’s Allergy: Prinnciples and practice vol. 1,chap 38. - Pepys, J. Clinical allergy, 1973, pp 491-509. - Pepys, J. Atopy: a study in definition. Allergy 1994;49: 397-399 - Bernstein DI and al.Characterization of skin prick testing responses J Allergy Clin Immunol 1994; 49:498-507 Web sites of interest - www.asthma-workplace.com - www.asthme.csst.qc.ca/document/Info_Gen/AgenProf/ - www.remcomp.com/asmanet/asmapro/index.htm