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Abstract zur Publikation: Cord blood-IgE as risk factor and predictor for atopic diseases (see comments)

Edenharter G, Bergmann R L, Bergmann K E, Wahn V, Forster J, Zepp F, Wahn U (1998): Cord blood-IgE as risk factor and predictor for atopic diseases (see comments)
Clin. Exp. Allergy 28 (6): 671-678.

BACKGROUND: Cord blood-IgE as risk factor or predictor for atopic diseases in infants has been discussed in a large number of papers with contradictory results. Our aim was to evaluate cord blood-IgE as risk factor and predictor for atopic dermatitis, recurrent wheezing and sensitization with emphasis on a clear-cut distinction between risk factor and predictor. METHODS: A cohort of 1314 newborns was recruited in six German obstetric departments and followed-up for 5 years. Four hundred and ninety-nine infants (38%) were considered to be at high risk with at least two atopic family members and/or a cord blood-IgE value above the threshold of 0.9 kU/L. At follow-up visits, parents filled in a questionnaire, the infants were clinically examined, and blood samples were taken. RESULTS: With regard to early onset atopic dermatitis up to 12 months we found that the odds ratios at the cord blood-IgE cut-off points of 0.70 kU/L and 1.25 kU/L with values of 0.53 and 0.32, respectively, were smaller than one (i.e. protective factors) and highly statistically significant. No significant association was found between elevated cord blood-IgE and recurrent wheezing. There was a strong positive association between elevated cord blood-IgE levels and sensitization at 12 months, but even in this case the predictive performance was rather poor: a maximum positive predictive value of 42% was attained with a cut-off point of 3.0 kU/L, but the sensitivity was only 10%. CONCLUSION: We conclude that even when elevated cord blood-IgE levels are identified as a strong risk factor for sensitization, their poor predictive performance may make them useless as a basis for preventive measures.

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