Risk factors for latex allergy in patients with spina bifida and latex sensitization

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Some subjects with spina bifida (SB) and latex sensitization (cutaneous and/or serum IgE) can have clinical reactions, while others may have no symptoms after the exposure to latex products.


This study was carried out to determine the risk factors associated with latex allergy in patients affected with SB and latex sensitization.


Fifty-nine consecutive subjects affected with SB, besides answering a questionnaire, underwent a skin-prick test (SPT) to latex and the determination of the specific serum IgE (RAST CAP) to latex. The total serum IgE concentration was determined and SPT to common aero- and food-allergens, skin tests (prick + prick) with fresh foods (kiwi, pear, orange, pineapple, tomato, banana) and RAST CAP to the same foods tested by the prick + prick technique, were also performed.


Fifteen out of the 59 subjects (25%) were sensitized to latex according to the presence of IgE to latex detected by SPT (nine patients) and/or RAST CAP (13 patients). Five out of the 15 sensitized patients (33%) suffered from clinical reactions to latex (urticaria, conjunctivitis, angioedema, rhinitis, bronchial asthma) while they were using latex gloves and while inflating latex balloons. In the 15 sensitized patients, the presence of specific latex seric IgE > 3.5 kU/L (≥ class 3), a positive latex SPT, an elevated total serum IgE, and a positive prick + prick and/or a positive RAST CAP to foods, were significant (P < 0.05) risk factors associated with latex symptoms. The other factors tested (age, gender, months of intermittent bladder catheterization, surgical procedures, SPT reactivity and clinical reactions to aeroallergens and food-allergens, skin tests for fresh foods, positive RAST CAP to foods) were not significantly different in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.


Significant risk factors for symptoms to latex in patients with SB and latex sensitization were a presence of specific IgE to latex > 3.5 kU/L, a more frequent positive latex SPT, elevated total IgE, and one or more positive prick + prick and/or RAST CAP to fresh foods.

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