Allergen-specific IgE levels and mite allergen exposure in children with acute asthma first seen in an emergency department and in nonasthmatic control subjects

R P Nelson, R DiNicolo, E Fernández-Caldas, M J Seleznick, R F Lockey, R A Good
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1996, 98 (2): 258-63

BACKGROUND: Sensitization to allergens has been shown to be a risk factor for adults with acute asthma first seen in the emergency department.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of specific IgE to common aeroallergens in children with asthma first seen in the emergency department and in control subjects.

METHODS: Fifty-four children, aged 3 to 16 years (mean age, 8.34 years) who visited the emergency department for treatment of acute bronchospasm or other illness, were evaluated. Specific IgE to seven common aeroallergens and four common storage mites was determined. Group I consisted of 29 patients who had acute bronchospasm and histories of recurrent asthma. Group II consisted of 25 control subjects who had no clinical history of atopic disease. Group I and II were compared for differences in the prevalence of positive RAST responses to the 11 allergens tested. Dust samples were collected from 17 homes of subjects in group I and from 13 homes of subjects in group II and were analyzed for levels of Der p 1 and Der f 1.

RESULTS: Statistically significant differences in the prevalence of positive RAST results between groups I and II were found in response to: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, 89.6% versus 36% (p = 0.0001); Blattella germanica, 45.8% versus 9.5% (p = 0.018); Alternaria tenuis, 44.8% versus 4% (p = 0.001); and the storage mites Aleuroglyphus ovatus, 39.2% versus 4% (p = 0.002); Blomia tropicalis, 42.8% versus 0% (p = 0.0002); Chortoglyphus arcuatus, 46.4% versus 0% (p = 0.0001); and Lepidoglyphus destructor, 32.1% versus 0% (p = 0.0019). Mean specific IgE levels, expressed as percent of the total counts bound, were significantly higher in group I compared with group II only in response to D. pteronyssinus, 21.9% versus 2.1% (mean percent of total counts bound) (p = 0.0001). Analysis of dust samples revealed no significant differences between the two groups, except for a higher concentration of Der f 1 in the sofas of subjects in group II.

CONCLUSION: Sensitization to D. pteronyssinus, storage mites, and, to a lesser extent, to A. tenuis and B. germanica is associated with acute childhood asthma that requires emergency treatment in Florida.

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