Beryllium Sensitization: Diagnosis

Reviewed by Lisa A. Maier, MD, MSPH, FCCP

Beryllium sensitization is diagnosed with a blood test called the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). The BeLPT is a test that helps determine if your immune system reacts to beryllium as a foreign substance — this reaction leads to abnormal BeLPT results. In individuals who do not have beryllium sensitization, the immune system does not respond to beryllium in any manner, which produces normal BeLPT results.

Individuals with two or more abnormal BeLPT results are considered to have “confirmed beryllium sensitization” and are encouraged to undergo further medical testing to determine if they have chronic beryllium disease (CBD). Individuals with other combinations of non-normal test results, such as an abnormal and a borderline BeLPT or three borderline results, are also considered sensitized and should be candidates for further evaluation.

 

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