What is the ImmunoCAP Specific IgE Blood Test?

A laboratory test to rule in or rule out atopy in patients with allergy-like symptoms. ImmunoCAP provides a clinically-relevant means of confirming or excluding the presence of atopic disease in patients with upper respiratory disease. These allergy-like symptoms are very difficult to differentiate. ImmunoCAP will also accurately identify specific allergen sensitivities in patients with confirmed allergy.

What does the test measure?

This in vitro quantitative assay measures allergen specific IgE in human serum. It is intended for in vitro diagnostic use as an aid in the clinical diagnosis of IgE mediated allergic disorders in conjunction with other clinical findings. ImmunoCAP assays can be performed on hundreds of allergens, such as weeds, trees, pollens, mold, food, and animal dander.

What is the role of this test in diagnosing and managing upper respiratory disease?

Causes of nasal symptoms associated with upper respiratory disease (URD) can range from aspirin intolerance to pregnancy. The exact etiology of allergy-like symptoms is often difficult to determine definitively. The origin could be allergic, bacterial, viral, or pathological and is virtually impossible to establish with an empirical assessment alone. Compounding this, consumer awareness is at an all-time high. Patients often come in with a pre-determined self-diagnosis and request for therapy. History and physical are important, but further inquiry is often necessary to provide an evidence-based diagnosis and treatment regimen. ImmunoCAP Specific IgE Blood Test can definitively rule in or rule out atopic disease as the cause of or contributing factor to these symptoms.

Once a definitive diagnosis is reached, regardless of the presence or absence of atopy, appropriate treatment options can be employed. When atopy proves to be a factor in URD, avoidance is considered the primary therapeutic approach by all leading professional allergy associations. This test can identify the specific causative allergens.

How does this test compare with other technologies?

The technology used in ImmunoCAP is a vast improvement over earlier blood allergy testing (RAST™). In fact, ImmunoCAP has recently been cleared by the FDA to provide quantitative measurement of specific IgE. This means ImmunoCAP is the only test that quantitatively and accurately determines if patients are allergic and exactly to what they are allergic. A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology demonstrated that ImmunoCAP is the standard for accuracy and reliability.

The basis of the innovative ImmunoCAP technology is a cellulose polymer in a plastic reserve. This unique technology provides high binding capacity of clinically relevant allergen proteins, including those present in very low levels. This provides both accurate results and increased sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility, equaling the most advanced in vitro allergy testing available today.

Why should I incorporate this test in my practice?

Your daily practice routinely includes patients who present with URD - rhinitis, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis. The source of their symptoms may be viral, bacterial, or allergic, making definitive diagnosis an essential step in determining appropriate treatment. More than a nuisance, these conditions affect tens of millions of Americans, have a significant impact on quality of life, and result in billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. Allergy awareness among the general population is at an all-time high, and patients and clinicians want to get to the cause of respiratory distress. 

Now more than ever, URD management is an important part of the primary care practice. ImmunoCAP provides quantitative evidence that clearly demonstrates the appropriateness and value of your patient’s treatment plan. The right treatment decisions, based on clinical evidence, mean appropriate use of antibiotics, antihistamines, and intranasal steroids; fewer repeat office visits; and fewer unnecessary referrals.

Who should be tested?

Anyone presenting with nasal or other allergy-like symptoms is a candidate for specific IgE testing. However, ImmunoCAP Specific IgE Blood Test should be strongly considered for patients with:

  • Recurrent or chronic URD, i.e., rhinitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis
  • Unseasonable allergy-like symptoms
  • Seasonal or perennial allergy-like symptoms
  • Recurrent otitis media
  • Exogenous asthma and other conditions in which IgE mediation is suspected

The test can be run on patients of any age and regardless of skin condition. There is no need to stop current medications prior to drawing a blood sample.

What are the specimen requirements?

Refrigerated serum from a serum separator tube or plain red-top tube. Volume requirements differ depending on the number of allergens requested.

How do I order the test?

While you can choose from hundreds of allergens, most patients presenting with nasal symptoms can be tested effectively with the Arizona Respiratory Desert or Arizona Respiratory Mountain Panels consisting of 17-18 of the most common inhalant allergens from those two geographic regions. This assures that each regional panel provides an accurate and convenient method of confirming or excluding atopy in patients with allergy-like symptoms based on their Arizona geographic region. For more information on how to order the ImmunoCAP IgE Specific Blood Test or individual allergens, please contact your Account Manager.


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