Background: Close association exists between allergic rhinitis and asthma. Moreover, allergic rhinitis is a strong risk factor for the onset of asthma in adults. This study was aimed at evaluating a large group of patients with moderate-to-severe and persistent allergic rhinitis alone for investigating the presence of spirometric abnormalities and possible risk factors related to it.
Methods: A total of 392 patients with persistent allergic rhinitis were prospectively and consecutively evaluated. Clinical examination, skin prick test and spirometry were performed in all patients.
Results: There were 24 (6.1%) patients with forced vital capacity (FVC < 80%) of predicted, 50 (12.8%) with forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1 < 80%) of predicted and 341 (87.0%) with forced expiratory flow at 25% and 75% of the pulmonary volume (FEF25–75) < 80% of predicted. The logistic regression analysis evidenced that rhinitis duration (ORAdj: 1.9/year) and sensitization to house dust mites (ORAdj: 8.2) were significantly associated with impaired values of 2 or 3 spirometric parameters.
Conclusion: This study highlights the close link between upper and lower airways and the role of some risk factors, such as duration and mites sensitization, as early prognostic markers of bronchial involvement in patients with moderate-to-severe and persistent allergic rhinitis alone.