We determined the prevalence of and risk factors for latex sensitization in patients with spina bifida.Materials and Methods
A total of 59 consecutive subjects 2 to 40 years old with spina bifida answered a questionnaire, and underwent a latex skin prick test and determination of serum IgE specific for latex by RAST CAP radioimmunoassay. [sup *] We also noted the relationships of total serum IgE skin prick tests to common air and food allergens. In addition, skin prick plus prick tests were also done with fresh foods, including kiwi, pear, orange, almond, pineapple, apple, tomato and banana.Results
Latex sensitization was present in 15 patients (25%) according to the presence of IgE specific to latex, as detected by a skin prick test in 9 and/or RAST CAP in 13. Five latex sensitized patients (33.3%) had clinical manifestations, such as urticaria, conjuctivitis, angioedema, rhinitis and bronchial asthma, while using a latex glove and inflating a latex balloon. Atopy was present in 21 patients (35.6%). In 14 patients (23%) 1 or more skin tests were positive for fresh foods using a prick plus prick technique. Tomato, kiwi, and pear were the most common skin test positive foods. Univariate analysis revealed that a history of 5 or more operations, atopy and positive prick plus prick tests results for pear and kiwi were significantly associated with latex sensitization. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that only atopy and a history of 5 or more operations were significantly and independently associated with latex sensitization.Conclusions
A fourth of the patients with spina bifida were sensitized to latex. Atopy and an elevated number of operations were significant and independent predictors of latex sensitization in these cases.