Respiratory allergy and the relationship between early childhood lower respiratory illness and subsequent lung function

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Feb;145(2 Pt 1):283-90. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/145.2_Pt_1.283.


In a study of 159 school-age children whose histories of outpatient visits for lower respiratory illness (LRI) had been documented from early infancy, we observed lower mean levels of small airway function in boys who had experienced two or more episodes of wheezing-associated LRI before 6 yr of age. To determine whether allergy was an important factor influencing this result, we examined relationships among the results of RAST tests for seven common inhalant allergens and concurrent lung function in 126 subjects who consented to venipuncture. Increasing values for the sum of scores for the seven RAST tests were associated with progressively lower mean levels of small airways function in boys with histories of recurrent wheezing LRI during the preschool years. The association of allergy with lower levels of lung function was largely accounted for by dust mite allergy. RAST results were not correlated with lung function in boys who had experienced zero or 1 wheezing LRI before 6 yr of age or in girls. A history of recurrent wheezing LRI during the preschool years was also associated with significantly lower mean levels of small airways function in boys who had negative RAST tests. A subset of 49 boys was reevaluated after an average interval of 4 yr with RAST tests, spirometry, and methacholine challenge. Dust mite allergy was associated with an increased prevalence of bronchial hyperreactivity independent of early childhood wheezing LRI history.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maximal Midexpiratory Flow Rate
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / complications*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / complications*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / immunology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vital Capacity


  • Allergens
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Immunoglobulin E