Prenatal latex sensitization in patients with spina bifida: a pilot study

Clinical article

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  • 1 Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Children's Hospital Altona;
  • 3 Departments of Neonatology and
  • 4 Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital Altona, Hamburg; and
  • 2 Department of Neonatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany
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Object

Patients with spina bifida are particularly vulnerable to developing immunoglobulin E (IgE)–mediated latex sensitization. Even though many risk factors leading to latex allergy in these patients have been described, it is still unclear whether the increased prevalence of latex sensitization is disease associated or due to the procedures used to treat spina bifida. The aim of this study was to assess prenatal latex sensitization in patients with spina bifida by examining IgE levels in umbilical cord blood.

Methods

Patients with spina bifida and matched healthy infants were recruited from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Children's Hospital Altona. Latex-specific and total IgE were assessed in umbilical cord blood using ImmunoCAP testing to evaluate the degree of prenatal latex sensitization.

Results

Twenty-two subjects, 10 with spina bifida and 12 healthy individuals, were included. Subjects were selected after matching for sex, gestational age, weight, parental allergy profile, number of prenatal examinations, and utilization of latex tools during pregnancy (propensity score estimates, p = 0.36). In patients with spina bifida, latex-specific and total IgE levels were significantly higher than those in healthy individuals (p = 0.001). After normalization to total IgE, latex-specific IgE levels were higher, yet not significantly increased (p = 0.085).

Conclusions

Perinatally, there is a significant augmentation of total and latex-specific IgE in patients with spina bifida. After correcting for total IgE, latex-specific IgE was increased, yet not significantly higher than in matched, healthy controls. This pilot study gives novel insights in the immunological reactions related to spina bifida. The increased latex-specific IgE levels could possibly be associated with the occurrence of a latex allergy in the future.

Abbreviation used in this paper:IgE = immunoglobulin E.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Michael Boettcher, M.D., Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Children's Hospital Altona, Martinistr. 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. email: michboettcher@gmail.com.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online January 3, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2013.12.PEDS13402.

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