Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma frequently coexist but has rarely been evaluated in children.
Objective: This prospective study aimed to estimate the prevalence of AR in asthmatic children, and ascertain whether AR is a risk factor for the severity of asthma.
Methods: The questionnaire, modified from the adult form of the score for allergic rhinitis (SFAR), was completed by 404 asthmatic children aged 3-18 years seen in the outpatient clinic between June 2005 and July 2007. Each item was assigned a number of points with a final score ranging from 0 to 17. AR and asthma were classified according to ARIA and GINA 2004 recommendations, respectively.
Results: AR was diagnosed in 237 patients (58.7%). It was intermittent in 57.8% of the patients and persistent in 42.2%. A total score >or=9 was discriminant for AR (sensitivity=91.1%, specificity=95.2%, positive predictive value=96.4%, negative predictive value=88.3%, Youden's Index=0.86). The proportion of children having mild or moderate-to-severe asthma was independent of the presence of AR, 61.6% of moderate-to-severe asthmatic children and 55.4% of intermittent and mild asthmatic children having AR.
Conclusion: AR and asthma are frequently associated (58.7%). The SFAR adapted for children seems to be a simple and a reliable tool to detect AR in asthmatic children.