Diagnosis of peanut allergy using continuous likelihood ratios.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2020.05.019


BACKGROUND: Peanut allergy (PA) is associated with an economic and psychological burden on patients and families. Its diagnosis includes tests for peanut specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE), the values of which usually are categorized as positive or negative using a predefined cutoff (usually 0.35 kU/L). With the use of Bayes' theorem, this categorization can be replaced with a continuous interpretation of sIgE, which accounts for the prevalence of PA and history of ingestion.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a method for estimating the likelihood ratio (LR) for each value of sIgE by performing a pilot investigation with the results of oral food challenges. The LR could be used to estimate the probability of PA.

METHODS: The outcomes of oral food challenges and serum IgE values from 117 children seen in an allergy clinic between January 2017 and November 2019 were obtained. Polynomial regression of the receiver operation characteristics curve was used to determine an LR for each value of sIgE. Linear regression was used to estimate an LR for each value of sIgE.

RESULTS: sIgE ranged from less than 0.1 kU/L to 35 kU/L. Bayes' theorem and a receiver operation characteristics curve were used to estimate LRs for each value of peanut sIgE. The value of IgE associated with an LR of 1 was 0.22 kU/L, which is comparable to other studies that used a value of 0.35 kU/L to separate positive from negative results.

CONCLUSION: When combined with estimates of pretest probability, this method should permit the development of computerized decision-making algorithms to estimate the probability that a patient has PA.

Journal Title

Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology





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