Occupational Asthma Reference

Malo JL, Lemiere C, Desjardins A et al, Prevalence and intensity of rhinoconjunctivitis in subjects with occupational asthma, Eur Respir J, 1997;10:1513-1515,


Known Authors

Jean-Luc Malo, Hôpital de Sacré Coeur, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Jean-Luc Malo

Catherine Lemière, Hôpital de Sacré Coeur, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Catherine Lemière

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Subjects with occupational asthma may also report symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis. The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the prevalence of rhinoconjunctivitis in association with occupational asthma, and the severity of rhinoconjunctivitis according to the type of agent (high (HMW) and low (LMW) molecular weight agents) causing occupational asthma; and 2) to evaluate the timing of occurrence of symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis in relation to those of occupational asthma. A questionnaire on symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis and its timing in relation to the development of chest symptoms was prospectively addressed to 143 subjects consecutively referred to an occupational asthma clinic. Objective testing through specific inhalation challenges confirmed the diagnosis of occupational asthma in 40 subjects. Symptoms of rhinitis were reported at some time by 37 of the 40 subjects (92%), and of conjunctivitis by 29 of the 40 subjects (72%). The prevalence of symptoms was not different for HMW and LMW agents, although rhinitis was more intense for HMW (19 out of 24 subjects with three or more of the following symptoms: runny nose, itchy nose, nasal blockage, and sneezing) than for LMW (5 out of 14 subjects) (p<0.01). There were significantly fewer subjects with occupational asthma due to LMW agents, with rhinitis appearing before asthma (p=0.03). Figures for conjunctivitis showed a similar trend, but did not reach statistical significance. In conclusion, symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis are often associated with occupational asthma. Rhinitis is less pronounced in the case of low molecular weight agents, but more often appears before occupational asthma in the case of high molecular weight agents.

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