The relationship between a specific IgE level and asthma outcomes: results from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Whitney D Arroyave, Felicia A Rabito, John C Carlson
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Practice 2013, 1 (5): 501-8

BACKGROUND: Allergen exposure is associated with increased specific IgE (sIgE), and allergen exposure plus sensitization is predictive of asthma outcomes. However, it is not known if sIgE is predictive of asthma outcomes in the absence of exposure data.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether IgE to indoor allergens is predictive of and has a dose-response relationship with asthma emergency department (ED) visits and wheeze.

METHODS: In the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 351 children and 390 adults reported current asthma. Continuous sIgE to 9 indoor allergens were considered. Asthma morbidity in the past year was measured by wheezing. Health care utilization was defined as any asthma ED visits in the past year.

RESULTS: Analyses were adjusted for race, age, education, poverty index ratio and (in adults) tobacco use. In children, ED visits were associated with cockroach (odds ratio [OR] 1.5 [95% CI, 1.1-2 .1), rat (OR 1.9 [95% CI, 1.2-2.8]), and Aspergillus (OR 1.6 [95% CI, 1.001-2.60]). Continuous Aspergillus (OR 1.5 [95% CI, 1.04-2.1), Alternaria (OR 1.4 [95% CI, 1.1-1.6]), and total IgE (OR 1.2 [95% CI, 1.1-1.4]) were associated with wheeze in children. Adult ED visits were associated with sIgE for dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus OR 1.6 [95% CI, 1.3-2.1]; Dermatophagoides farinae OR 1.6 [95% CI, 1.3-1.9]), total IgE (OR 1.4 [95% CI, 1.04- 1.9]), and the sum of sIgEs (OR 1.6 [95% CI, 1.2-2.2]).

CONCLUSIONS: Sensitization to particular indoor environmental allergens was found to be a risk factor for wheeze and asthma ED visits. These outcomes increased as the concentration of sIgE to these allergens increased.

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