Background: While several scoring systems for the severity of anaphylactic reactions have been developed, there is a lack of consensus on definition and categorisation of severity of food allergy disease as a whole. Aim: To develop an international consensus on the severity of food allergy (DEfinition of Food Allergy Severity, DEFASE) scoring system, to be used globally. Methods: Phase 1: We conducted a mixed-method systematic review (SR) of 11 databases for published and unpublished literature on severity of food allergy management and set up a panel of international experts. Phase 2: Based on our findings in Phase 1, we drafted statements for a two-round modified electronic Delphi (e-Delphi) survey. A purposefully selected multidisciplinary international expert panel on food allergy (n = 60) was identified and sent a structured questionnaire, including a set of statements on different domains of food allergy severity related to symptoms, health-related quality of life, and economic impact. Participants were asked to score their agreement on each statement on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Median scores and percentage agreements were calculated. Consensus was defined a priori as being achieved if 70% or more of panel members rated a statement as “strongly agree” to “agree” after the second round. Based on feedback, 2 additional online voting rounds were conducted. Results: We received responses from 92% of Delphi panel members in round 1 and 85% in round 2. Consensus was achieved on the overall score and in all of the 5 specific key domains as essential components of the DEFASE score. Conclusions: The DEFASE score is the first comprehensive grading of food allergy severity that considers not only the severity of a single reaction, but the whole disease spectrum. An international consensus has been achieved regarding a scoring system for food allergy disease. It offers an evaluation grid, which may help to rate the severity of food allergy. Phase 3 will involve validating the scoring system in research settings, and implementing it in clinical practice.
- e-Delphi study
- Food allergy