Eosinophils are the principal effector cells involved in the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation. We conducted a study to investigate the validity of the nasal smear examination for detecting eosinophilia in patients with allergic rhinitis. Our study group was made up of 50 patients with allergic rhinitis and 50 age- and sex-matched controls without allergic rhinitis. Smears were obtained from nasal secretions in both groups and then fixed, stained, and studied under light microscopy. Statistical analysis revealed that the odds ratio for eosinophilia positivity in nasal smears in the rhinitis group was 25.61 with a 95% confidence interval of 8 to 78. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of this test were 74, 90, 88, and 77%, respectively. We conclude that the nasal eosinophilia test is highly specific and moderately sensitive in diagnosing allergic rhinitis, and that it therefore can be used as an easy, noninvasive, and inexpensive procedure for screening patients and for conducting epidemiologic studies of this disorder.
Additional information: This study was part of Dr. Taghiloo's graduate thesis, and it was supported by the Research Council of the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences.
IntroductionAllergic rhinitis is induced by an IgE-mediated inflammation of the nasal membrane following exposure to an allergen.1 It is characterized by one or more symptoms that include sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and rhinorrhea.2 Mucosal inflammation in allergic asthma and rhinitis is characterized by tissue eosinophilia.3,4 In affected patients, eosinophils and other inflammatory cells are released
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