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Spirometric abnormalities in patients with allergic rhinitis: Indicator of an “asthma march”?

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Background:

Allergic rhinitis (AR) may precede and promote the onset of asthma. However, few studies addressed this issue mainly concerning bronchial physiological parameters. The aim of this study was to assess forced expiratory flow at 25‐75% (FEF25‐75), forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1), and response to bronchodilation test in a large group of AR patients.

Methods:

Sixteen hundred five adult AR patients were evaluated. Clinical examination, assessment of nasal obstruction perception by visual analog scale, spirometry, and bronchodilation test were performed in all patients.

Results:

There were 8.4% of patients with abnormal FEV1 values, 24.7% had impaired FEF25‐75, and 66.1% had reversibility with bronchodilation. A trend of spirometric impairment seems to exist in these patients. Age, gender, and duration of rhinitis may be risk factors for these findings. Different grades of bronchial impairment seem to exist.

Conclusion:

This study highlights the close link between upper and lower airways and suggests the possible existence of a progression from AR toward asthma, such as an “asthma march.” Therefore, asthma should be suspected and carefully investigated in AR patients.
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Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; FEF25‐75; FEV1; asthma; bronchodilation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino, Genoa, Italy

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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