Utility of the Atopy Patch Test in the Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

Document Type: Systematic Review


1 Pediatric Allergy Service, San Severo, Italy.

2 Pulmonary Rehabilitation, ICP Hospital, Via Bignami 1, 20137 Milan, Italy.


The diagnostic work-up of allergic rhinitis (AR) is first and foremost based on the combination of clinical history data and results of skin prick tests (SPT). Other tests, including specific IgE measurement, nasal challenge, and, as a third option, component resolved diagnosis or basophil activation test, may be useful when the diagnosis is difficult because of polysensitization or when negative results of SPT are observed despite a suggestive history for allergy. The atopy patch test (APT) that assesses the type 4 delayed hypersensitivity allergy is currently not sufficiently used. The data obtained in recent studies on the diagnostic utility of the APT in patients with AR was reviewed.
Data Sources:
Review of the literature.
The data from available studies show that the APT is frequently positive in patients with AR, especially when there is a positive history for atopic dermatitis. Very often, APT is the only positive test and therefore performing only SPT or in vitro IgE measurement may lead to an erroneous diagnosis of nonallergic rhinitis. Recent data suggest a role for APT not only for diagnosis but also in epidemiological investigation on respiratory allergy.


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