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Eur Respir J. 1997 Jun;10(6):1217-23.

Allergen reduction measures in houses of allergic asthmatic patients: effects of air-cleaners and allergen-impermeable mattress covers.

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  • 1Dept of Allergology, Clinic for Internal Medicine, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands.


Recommendations for allergen avoidance or allergen reduction measures play an important part in the treatment of allergic asthmatic patients. The purpose of this study was to test recently developed air-cleaners with respect to their capacity to capture airborne allergen particles and to improve clinical parameters of asthmatic patients sensitized to aeroallergens. Forty five allergic asthmatic patients were studied in a double-blind procedure for 6 months. The patients were divided into three groups of 15 patients. In Group 1, the intervention consisted of the application of active air-cleaners in living-rooms and bedrooms. In Group 2, placebo air-cleaners were used in combination with allergen-impermeable mattress covers. In Group 3, the same intervention was performed as in Group 2 but with active air-cleaners. Allergen levels in mattress and floor dust were measured before, and 3 and 6 months after the interventions. After 6 months, the air-cleaners were dismantled and the filters were analysed for the amount of dust collected and allergen content. Immunological and lung function parameters were measured before, and 3 and 6 months after the interventions. Considerable amounts of airborne dust and allergenic particles were captured in the filters of the air-cleaners. Up to the 18.9 g of dust, 4,513 ng of house dust mite allergen, Der p 1, and 50,000 mU of cat allergen, Fel d 1, (in houses with cats) were collected by air-cleaners in living-rooms. Only in Group 3 (in which both active air-cleaners and mattress covers were used) was a small (less than 1 doubling dose) but statistically significant improvement of provocative concentration of histamine causing a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in one second (PC20) observed (from 5.96 to 9.02 mg x mL(-1)). The amount of dust and house dust mite allergen collected in the filters was significantly correlated with an improvement of peak flow variation. In combination with other allergen avoidance measures, the examined air-cleaners can contribute to diminished allergen exposure and improvement of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthmatic patients.

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