The Allergy & Immunology Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Medical Subspecialties Institute specializes in the diagnosis and management of asthma and other allergy-related conditions. The program’s caregivers offer expert care to meet the needs of our patients with a wide range of allergic and immunologic conditions, including with immunodeficiencies (when the immune system is not working properly).
Several state-of-the-art treatments are available, including allergen immunotherapy (desensitization) with injectable and non-injectable options. Working closely with specialists in pulmonary medicine; dermatology; ear, nose, and throat; and rheumatology, the Allergy & Immunology Program team provides coordinated, patient-centered care.
What We Treat
Allergy & Immunology Program physicians specialize in several allergic and immunologic conditions, including:
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Asthma (both allergic and non-allergic)
- Urticaria (hives)
- Angioedema (swelling)
- Food and medication allergies
- Atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema, characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin)
The program team sees patients with symptoms that may be caused by an allergy, such as coughs, sinus headaches, or itching. The team also treats patients suffering from less common conditions, such as recurrent infections due to problems with their immune systems.
The highly trained Allergy & Immunology Program team co-manages patients with colleagues from other programs within the Medical Subspecialties Institute. These include specialists in pulmonary medicine; ear, nose, and throat; dermatology; gastroenterology; and rheumatology. The multidisciplinary approach allows patients to receive the most comprehensive treatment possible. For example, patients with celiac disease (gluten allergy) may see an allergist, a gastroenterologist, and a dietician. These specialists complement each other, resulting in care that puts Patients First.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The Medical Subspecialties Institute’s Allergy & Immunology Program offers a variety of cutting-edge techniques to diagnose and treat patients affected by allergic and immunologic conditions.
Diagnosis with Allergy & Immunology
During the first visit, an Allergy & Immunology Program physician obtains a detailed patient history and conducts a physical examination. Based on this information, one or more of the following tests may be performed to help confirm the allergy and determine the best treatment for the patient:
- Skin prick and patch tests: Skin testing is a way to determine what’s causing a patient’s allergy symptoms. Concentrated amounts of allergens, such as dander, dust mites, mold, and foods, are placed on the patient’s skin to see if they cause a reaction, like redness and swelling you might get with a mosquito bite. With a skin prick test, the physician scratches the outer layer of the skin where the allergen was placed. A safe and simple test, it provides results in 15-20 minutes. During patch testing, patches with specific allergens are applied to the skin on the patient’s back. The results are then analyzed in the clinic after three days.
- Blood tests: These tests involve a single needle prick to obtain a blood sample, which is then tested at a laboratory. They measure levels of antibodies (a type of protein produced as part of the body’s defense against infection and disease) released in the blood during an allergic reaction.
- Lung function: One or more types of tests known as lung function tests help confirm a diagnosis of asthma. These tests measure breathing and show how well the patient’s lungs are working.
- X-rays and CT scans: Imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or CT scan, allow the physician look inside the patient’s body to see if anything else is causing asthma or allergy symptoms.
- Challenge testing: If the results of allergy testing are inconclusive or if it is suspected that a patient is no longer allergic to a specific food or drug, an allergy challenge test may also be performed. In a challenge test, a very small amount of an allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth. These tests are performed under close supervision by our highly trained allergists in the day ward with full resuscitative (life- saving) facilities.
Treatment with Allergy & Immunology
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients receive individualized care plans and training for the optimal use of inhalers, nasal sprays and adrenaline autoinjectors (EpiPens). Patients with a specific sensitivity may be offered the option of desensitization. This stimulates the immune system with gradually increasing doses of the substances to which a person is allergic to modify or stop the allergic response. This can be done either with or without injections for a wide range of allergens and drugs, such as aspirin. Patients with severe allergies or immunodeficiency or autoimmunity conditions are provided with state-of-the-art treatments based on international guidelines.