The Evolving Story of New Food Allergies Following Liver Transplantation

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Abstract

Food allergy has been increasingly reported in children who had orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). We aimed to conduct a prospective study to investigate the prevalence of sensitizations and food allergy in pediatric OLT recipients. We also aimed to identify potential risk factors. The study group consisted of 28 children (14 male, 14 female, mean age 4.96 ± 0.76 yrs) who had OLT. Total eosinophil count (TEC), total IgE, and specific IgEs were studied before and 3, 6, 12 months after OLT. Six patients (21%) developed multiple food allergies. Mean age of six patients at OLT who developed food allergy was younger compared to the non-food allergy group (10.2 months vs. 68.9 months, p < 0.05). Food allergy has been developed within 1 yr in 5, and in 20 months in one patient after OLT. All six patients had cow's milk and egg allergy after OLT. Five children developed wheat, one children developed lentil and another one developed peach allergy in addition to cow's milk and egg allergy. Out of six food-allergic patients after OLT, four children developed Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection prior to food allergy. Before OLT, TECs and total IgE levels were not differed among food allergic and non-food allergic patients (p > 0.05). Mean of TECs were significantly higher in food allergic group compared to non-food allergic group at each time point after OLT (p < 0.05). Though statistically insignificant, mean of total IgE levels were also higher in the food allergic group (p > 0.05). These findings suggest that food allergy should be considered after OLT in patients who are younger than 1 yr of age, who developed hypereosinophilia, high total IgE levels or EBV viremia.

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