Purpose: To investigate the causative allergens and clinical characteristics of Korean adult patients with food allergy (FA). Methods: This retrospective, cross-sectional single-institutional study enrolled Korean adult patients (n = 812) suspected of having FA. For diagnosis, causality assessment history taking, ImmunoCAP specific immunoglobulin E measurement and/or skin prick test were performed. Results: Among 812 patients, 415 were diagnosed as having FA. The most common causative allergen was fruit, with a diagnosis of pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS: 155, 37.3%), followed by crustaceans (111, 26.7%), wheat (63, 15.1%), fruits in patients without PFAS(43, 10.3%), buckwheat (31, 7.4%), peanut (31, 7.4%), walnut (25, 6.0%), red meat due to reaction to galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal) (8, 1.9%), and silkworm pupa (13, 3.1%). Allergy to egg, milk, fish, or shellfish was rare in Korean adults. One-third of patients with FA exhibited multiple FAs (238/415, 57.3%); the average number of causative allergens was 2.39. About 129 patients (31.0%) were diagnosed as having anaphylaxis; in these patients, wheat was the most frequent causative food. Twenty patients were further diagnosed with food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA); all were due to wheat. In particular, crustaceans, wheat, PFAS, buckwheat, and red meat (α-Gal) were also frequent causes of anaphylaxis. Conclusions: Wheat, fruits with or without PFAS, and crustaceans are important and frequent causative allergens in Korean adult FA; these allergens differ from those found in childhood FA. It is notable that non-classic allergies, such as PFAS, FDEIA, and α-Gal allergy, are the important causes of anaphylaxis in Korean adult FA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine