Peak expiratory flow rate assessment to screen for asthma in children with allergic rhinitis


  • Krithika A. P. Department of Paediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Arunkumar T. Department of Paediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Sundari S. Department of Paediatrics, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Tamil Nadu, India



Allergic rhinitis, Asthma screening, Peak expiratory flow rate


Background: Allergic rhinitis is a common disease affecting around 10-25% of the population worldwide. There is a temporal relationship between the onset of allergic rhinitis and asthma and the ‘unified airway hypothesis’ explains this. Many researchers have demonstrated bronchial hyper-responsiveness prior to onset of asthma symptoms further validating this hypothesis. Further many studies favour treating allergic rhinitis may prevent the onset of asthma. So, detecting allergic rhinitis earlier and treating it adequately is of vital importance. The aims and objectives of this study is to identify bronchial hyper responsiveness in children with allergic rhinitis, prior to the onset of asthmatic symptoms, by measuring PEFR and its clinical correlates.

Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in Department of Paediatrics in Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria were defined, and the study was conducted on a total of 85 children. After taking informed consent from parents, the children coming under the study population were analyzed for their baseline characteristics and PEFR is measured using a low reading Mini Wright peak flow meter and compared with mean value of south Indian children using the formula, PEFR= {(HEIGHT IN CM-100) X5} +100.

Results: The mean PEFR as expressed in percentage of expected PEFR is 77.28% in males and 83.34% in females. The mean percentage of expressed PEFR does not vary significantly between different age groups. Of the 85 children,48(56.5%) have mild intermittent allergic rhinitis,28(32.9%) have mild persistent allergic rhinitis,5(5.9%) have moderate-severe intermittent allergic rhinitis and 4(4.7%) have moderate-severe persistent allergic rhinitis. There were 37(43.5%) blockers (with predominant nose block) and 48(56.5%) runners (with predominant rhinorrhea).

Conclusions: PEFR is abnormal in 41.2% of children with allergic rhinitis. PEFR reduces linearly as the severity of allergic rhinitis increases. PEFR decreases as the number of cardinal symptoms increases. PEFR increases significantly after treatment of allergic rhinitis alone.


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