Diagnostic tests

Diagnostic tests can be divided into in vivo tests and in vitro tests. In vivo tests involve the patient themselves. The gold standard of all these is the double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC). Outcome measures from DBPCFC may include patient reports of symptoms and clinician observations, or more sophisticated tests such as pulmonary function tests. Other in vivo tests include assessment of the presence of specific IgE, using skin tests. Assessment of late-phase reactions may rarely be aided by the use of patch tests.

In vitro or laboratory-based tests mainly fall into two groups, those which can be carried out independently of any recent reaction and those dependent upon a recent reaction. The first group are those which aim to identify the presence within serum of specific IgE. The second group of tests are at present largely confined to the research arena.

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