Nasal Allergy and Otitis Media : A real correlation?

Desiderio Passali, Giulio C. Passali, Maria Lauriello, Antonio Romano, Luisa Bellussi, Francesco M. Passali


Objectives: The correlation between middle ear pathology and nasal allergy has been debated for almost 30 years. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between otitis media with effusion (OME) and persistent allergic rhinitis symptoms versus intermittent rhinitis in children. Methods: The study included 100 atopic children (52 boys, 48 girls) aged 5‒9 years with otological symptoms who were patients of the University of Siena Hospital, Italy. Ear, nose and throat evaluations, tympanometry, skin prick tests (SPTs), mucociliary transport time (MCTt) and Eustachian tube function tests were performed. Results: The SPTs revealed 50 children sensitised to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, 34 to grass pollen and 16 to Parietaria. Of all patients, mild symptoms were intermittent in 19 children and persistent in 18; moderate/severe symptoms were intermittent in 22 and persistent in 41. Tubal dysfunction was present in 25 children, whereas middle ear effusion was present in 45 children undergoing myringotomy. The MCTt was slower in the persistent group (21 ± 2 mins) versus the intermittent group (16 ± 2 mins) with a significant difference (P <0.01). Mean eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) values in the middle ear effusions of children who had undergone myringotomy were 251 ± 175.2 μg/L, and mean ECP blood values were 25.5 ± 16.3 μg/L, with significant differences (P < 0.001). Conclusion: There was a significant association between OME, delayed MCTt, ECP values in middle ear effusion and persistent symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These results suggest a direct involvement of the middle ear mucosa as a target organ in persistent forms.


Otitis Media; Nasal Allergy; Children; Genetic Predisposition; Eustachian Tubes; Italy.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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