Clinical characteristics of pediatric patients evaluated for primary immunodeficiency

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Nov;22(7):671-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01167.x. Epub 2011 Mar 30.


Objective: When to evaluate a child for possible immune deficiency is a challenge, as many children have frequent infections for which they are treated with antibiotics. We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of children evaluated for possible primary immunodeficiency in a specialist clinic. We specifically aimed to evaluate widely promulgated 'warning signs of primary immunodeficiency' and to evaluate the relationship between primary immunodeficiency and atopy.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of 141 children who underwent testing for possible primary immunodeficiency was undertaken.

Results: Thirty-two (23%) children were diagnosed with an underlying primary immunodeficiency, and published warning signs were neither sensitive nor specific for primary immunodeficiency. Patients with allergy as determined by the presence of antigen-specific IgE were more likely to be diagnosed with immunodeficiency.

Conclusions: Widely promulgated warning signs did not distinguish between patients with and without primary immunodeficiency. Likewise, primary immunodeficiency and allergy may coexist.

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinemia / diagnosis
  • Agammaglobulinemia / epidemiology
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / diagnosis
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • IgA Deficiency / diagnosis
  • IgA Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Sex Distribution


  • Immunoglobulin E