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Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Nov;40(3):77-83.

Characteristics of patients with allergic polysensitization: the POLISMAIL study.

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Dipartimento Medicina Interna, Az. Osp. Universitaria San Martino, Genoa, Italy.



The natural history of respiratory allergy is commonly characterized by a worsening of symptom severity, frequent comorbidity of rhinitis and asthma, and polysensitization to aeroallergens. The polysensitization phenomenon starts since childhood and is rare to find monosensitized adult patients. However, there are few studies investigating the characteristics of polysensitized patients.


This study was performed on a large cohort of patients with allergic rhinitis (assessed by ARIA criteria) and/or mild to moderate asthma (assessed by GINA). The kind and the number of sensitizations, their patterns, and the relation with quality of life (QoL) measured by the Juniper's RQLQ guestionnaire, were evaluated.


Globally 418 patients (50.2% males, 49.8% females, mean age 26.4 years, range 3.5-65 years, 64 smokers, 371 non-smokers) were enrolled: 220 had allergic rhinitis alone, and 198 allergic rhinitis and asthma. The mean number ofsensitizations was 2.6. Three hundred-five patients (73%) had persistent rhinitis (PER), 220 of them with moderate-severe form. There was no significant derence in rate of rhinitis and asthma in monosensitized or polysensitized patients. Most patients were sensitized to pollens, whereas only 24.2% of them were sensitized to perennial allergens. Polysensitization was significantly associated with some issues of QoL, confirming previous findings, but not with number ofsensitizations.


This study provides data confirming for poly-sensitized patients the relevance of ARIA classification of AR. PER is the most common form of AR in this cohort, symptoms are frequently moderate-severe, and asthma is present in about the half of patients with AR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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