Background We investigated the effects of prolonged allergen avoidance in 18 house dust mite-sensitized asthmatic children during a prolonged residential period at a high altitude, allergen-free environment.
Methods Evaluations of residual volume (RV) and exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) were performed (i) at admission to the residential house in September, (ii) in December after 3 months of stay, (iii) in January after 15 days at home, exposed to allergens, and (iv) in June after 9 months of stay.
Results During the study period RV showed a significant decrease in December (from 117.5 ± 7.7% to 96.5 ± 3.2%) (P < 0.02) and a following increase in January (126.2 ± 17.2%), after allergen re-exposure (P < 0.03). RV decreased again in June at the end of the study period (91.1 ± 6.0%) (P = 0.001). FEV1, FEF25−75 and VC values did not present significant variations. ENO showed a significant decrease in December after 3 months at high altitude (from 21.3 ± 3.9 p.p.b. to 11.9 ± 1.7 p.p.b.) (P = 0.03), but no further significant change. No correlation was found between lung volumes and eNO, probably reflecting different aspects of asthma.
Conclusions Results suggest that RV may be more sensitive than other respiratory function parameters in identifying children with air trapping, being influenced significantly as the inflammatory indices by effective allergen avoidance/exposure regimen.