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Alpha-Gal Diagnostic Testing: Connecting the dots leads to an alpha-Gal syndrome diagnosis.1

Taylor, a 29-year-old woman with a history of intermittent hives, visits her healthcare provider after developing abdominal cramps followed by hives five hours after eating a cheeseburger.

The most recent episode occurred at the emergency department where she works. Her coworkers noticed that her face and upper chest turned “beet red,” before she began coughing and wheezing. She was treated with albuterol nebulization, solumedrol, and epinephrine, which resolved her symptoms.

Her healthcare provider conducts a full clinical history and physical examination and decided on diagnostic testing that included the alpha-Gal component.

Taylor keeps waking up in the middle of the night covered in hives. What did specific IgE blood testing reveal?

Patient History

Family History

  • None

Taylor's Personal History

  • Taylor has a history of intermittent hives, spanning several years.
  • Taylor’s hives are often preceded by abdominal cramping.
  • On two occasions, Taylor’s hives were accompanied by wheezing that resolved spontaneously after several hours.
  • A past history of tick bites.

 

Taylor's ImmunoCAP™ Test Results

These results together with this patient's case history and symptoms, help confirm the diagnosis.

 

ImmunoCAP Test Results (kUA/I)
Test Type Taylor's Results
alpha-Gal Allergen Component 10.40
Beef Whole Allergen 5.50
Lamb Whole Allergen 4.60
Pork Whole Allergen 5.10
Total IgE   28.60

Differential Diagnosis

Taylor has elevated levels of specific IgE to alpha-Gal, along with elevated beef, lamb and pork specific IgE indicating alpha-Gal syndrome.1

 

REFINED DIAGNOSIS

  • Alpha-Gal mediated mammalian (red) meat allergy

HEALTHCARE PROVIDER MANAGEMENT PLAN

  • Taylor’s healthcare provider referred her to a dietitian for help in adjusting her diet.
  • Taylor was advised to strictly avoid mammalian (red) meat and products made from mammalian meat.

FOLLOW UP

  • By avoiding all red meat, Taylor has remained free from hives and wheezing for several months.

The people, places, and events depicted in these case studies and photographs do not represent actual patients, nor are they affiliated in any way with Thermo Fisher Scientific.

References
  1. Wolver SE, Sun DR, Commins SP, Schwartz LB. A Peculiar Cause of Anaphylaxis: No More steak? Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2012;28(2):322–5.