Doppler Ultrasound Spots Milk Allergy in Babies

June 15, 2011
Todd Neff

Doppler ultrasound can help determine if a baby is allergic to cow’s milk based on the thickness and blood-vessel density in the bowel wall, a team of Brazilian researchers has found.

Doppler ultrasound can help determine if a baby is allergic to cow’s milk based on the thickness and blood-vessel density in the bowel wall, a team of Brazilian researchers has found.

In a study published in the June edition of the  American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR 2011; Vol.196:6; W817-W822), researchers considered grayscale and color Doppler sonograms of 34 infants ranging in age from newborn to six months. Half were suspected of being allergic to cow’s milk; the other half served as controls. A blinded investigator determined the percentage of vessel density and thickness of different parts of the bowel at the start of the study, after four weeks of feeding only  amino acid-based formula, and after a cow’s milk challenge test lasting up to a week.

The researchers found stark differences in the percentage of blood-vessel density between the babies that actually had a milk allergy (28.1 percent mean vessel density) and those who did not (7.77 percent mean density).  By establishing a vessel density cutoff point at 18.7 percent, lead author Matias Epifano, MD, and colleagues found they could differentiate infants with milk allergies with roughly 82 percent sensitivity and 94.1 percent specificity. They also found statistical differences in bowel-wall thickness between control patients and those allergic to milk.

An estimated 2 percent to 7.5 percent of infants worldwide have a milk allergy.

The study: http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/content/abstract/196/6/W817


 

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