How are in vitro allergy tests used to diagnose allergic rhinitis (hay fever)?

Updated: Dec 26, 2018
  • Author: Javed Sheikh, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

In vitro allergy tests, ie, FEIA, allow measurement of the amount of specific IgE to individual allergens in a sample of blood. The amount of specific IgE produced to a particular allergen approximately correlates with the allergic sensitivity to that substance. These tests allow determination of specific IgE to a number of different allergens from one blood sample, but the sensitivity and specificity are not always as good as accurate skin testing (depending on the laboratory and assay used for the FEIA). As with skin testing, virtually all of the allergens that cause allergic rhinitis (see Causes) can be determined using the in vitro specific IgE, although testing for some allergens is less well established compared to others.


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