Background: Previous reports suggest the usefulness of basophil activation testing (BAT) in Hymenoptera-allergic patients with negative venom-specific IgE antibodies. We sought to evaluate the diagnostic utility of this testing in a routine clinical laboratory setting. Materials and Methods: Twenty-one patients with anaphylactic reactions to Hymenoptera sting (median grade III) and negative venom-specific IgE were routinely and prospectively tested with BAT. Results: We were able to diagnose 81% (17 of 21) of patients with BAT and 57% (12 of 21) with intradermal skin testing. Three wasp venom-allergic patients showed IgE positivity to rVes v 5. Four patients (19%) were negative for all tests. In the case of double-positive BAT, the culprit insect correlated with the venom that induced a significantly higher basophil response. Conclusions: BAT allows the identification of severe Hymenoptera-allergic patients with negative specific IgE and skin tests. The routine use of this cellular test should facilitate prescription of venom immunotherapy in complex cases with inconclusive diagnostic results.

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