A clinic-corelative observational study on nasal smear eosinophilia in allergic rhinitis verses non-allergic rhinitis
Keywords:Allergic rhinitis, Non-allergic rhinitis, Nasal eosinophilia, Diagnostic nasal cytology
Background: Diagnostic nasal cytology has been used in distinguishing allergic from nonallergic rhinitis.
Methods: We sought to determine prospectively the frequency of nasal eosinophilia in 100 patients in whom having allergic rhinitis, nonallergic rhinitis, and other atopic conditions not involving the respiratory tract have been diagnosed. A nasal smear was obtained from consenting adults using the rhino-probe curette. Patients taking local or systemic corticosteroids, those with chronic rhinitis associated with aspirin sensitivity, and those with sinusitis were excluded. All cytograms were coded and read by a single ‘blinded’ investigator. NE was considered significant if greater than 20% of sampled cells were eosinophils.
Results: 28 of 50 (56%) patients were with AR had NE. No NE was detected in the control population or in the skin test negative group of patients in whom having nonallergic rhinitis was diagnosed. One of 36 patients with allergic disease not involving the respiratory tract exhibited NE; this patient had atopic dermatitis with peripheral eosinophilia. No cases of eosinophilic nonallergic rhinitis were detected. There was no significant correlation of symptoms or the number of positive skin tests with NE.
Conclusions: These data suggest that the nasal smear for eosinophils is an insensitive but specific test for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, when patients with nasal polyposis and aspirin sensitivity and/or negative skin tests are excluded.
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