Diagnostic Difficulties in the Natural Rubber Latex Allergy


  • Mehmet Ünsel

Received Date: 12.02.2020 Accepted Date: 04.03.2020 Cyprus J Med Sci 2021;6(4):345-348

Natural rubber latex (NRL) allergy is a serious illness that presents itself with a spectrum of clinical signs and symptoms, including urticaria, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and anaphylaxis. NRL allergy is more commonly encountered among healthcare professionals and patients who undergo frequent surgical procedures because of sipina bifida or urogenital malformation. The ratio may rise to as high as 30% among children who have sipina bifida, while NRL allergy prevalence is just about 5% in healthcare professionals. Moreover, NRL allergy is the second most important cause of perioperative anaphylaxis. In routine practice, diagnosis of NRL allergy is based on specific IgE analysis and skin prick test. Nevertheless, not only is the diagnostic value of each one alone reaches 100%, but also false positive test results are encountered. The precision of the diagnostic methods used for NRL allergy is important because false positive IgE results may negatively influence the patients’ quality of life due to the stringent measures required to ensure latex-free environment. For this reason, the search for diagnostic methods, which would confer more sensitive and specific results for a precise diagnosis, has been intensified in the last two decades, and for this purpose, recently recombinant NRL allergens are being used for the diagnosis of NRL allergy. In this article, performances of old and new diagnostic methods used in NRL allergy and what we gained from recombinant NRL allergens have been discussed.

Keywords: Natural rubber latex allergy, diagnosis, skin prick test, in vitro tests, provocation test