• air cleaning device;
  • avoidance measures;
  • bronchial hyperresponsiveness;
  • HEPA filters;
  • mite allergy

The efficacy of an air-cleaning device equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (without further avoidance measures) was studied in patients allergic to house dust mite. The effects of the air-cleaner on indoor Dermatophagoides sp. levels, symptom score and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in nine mite-allergic patients were assessed using a cross-over controlled study. No significant effect was demonstrated on indoor Dermatophagoides sp. levels when comparing the period of air-cleaner activity (2 months) with the control period (2 months). The Dermatophagoides sp. levels in the houses studied were lower than the risk level for asthmatic attacks, making it difficult to assess any effect on asthma; however, neither bronchial hyperresponsiveness nor rhinitis symptom score were changed by air-cleaner activity. During the trial period, however the mean level of Dermatophagoides sp. allergen in the houses changed spontaneously from 4.4 Hg/g (mean level in the first 2 trial months) to 1. 75 μg/g of dust (second 2 months) (P < 0.05). Owing to this change, the mean rhinitis symptom score also decreased (P < 0.05), even if no significant correlation was demonstrated (r = 0.4 P= 0.089). HEPA filter air-cleaners appear insufficient as substitutes for standard avoidance measures in mite allergic patients.