Clinical efficacy of reduction in house-dust mite exposure in specially designed, mechanically ventilated “healthy” homes


Henrik Harving, MD Department of Respiratory Diseases Aarhus University Hospital DK-8000 Aarhus C Denmark


In temperate climates, energy-conserving measures may increase indoor humidity, enhancing house-dust mite (HDM) growth. Movement of families to “healthy” homes with mechanical ventilation systems reduced HDM exposure. The effect on asthma control of moving to the “healthy” homes was studied in 14 asthmatic patients allergic to HDM. Base-line evaluations of lung function, asthma symptoms, and medication requirements were made before moving and again after 5 and 15 months’ residence. A control group of 11 mite-sensitive asthmatic patients who did not move were examined contemporaneously with the study group at base line and at the first follow-up investigation. After 5 months, the residents of the “healthy” homes improved in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), medicine score, and serum IgE. These changes were significantly different from control group measurements. After 15 months, statistically significant improvements from base line were found in FEV1, average daily peak expiratory flow values, medicine score, symptom score, and serum IgE. Insignificant trends toward improvement were seen in provocation concentration of histamine and blood eosinophils. A significant relation was found between reduction in medicine score and fall in HDM exposure. The present study shows that a specific HDM-avoidance procedure can result in an overall, clinical improvement in HDM-sensitive asthmatic patients.