Methods: We conducted a retrospective electronic chart review of 226 consecutive adult patients who underwent aeroallergen skin prick testing for rhinitis at the University of Arizona Adult Allergy and Immunology Clinic over the course of 1 year. All subjects were tested to a standard panel of tree, grasses, weed, mold, dust mite, animal dander, cockroach and feather extracts. Asthma was diagnosed using the Expert Panel Report 3 guidelines. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: Skin testing was most commonly positive to Mesquite (54%), Bermuda (48%), Palo Verde (47%), Olive tree (43%) and Lambsquarters (43%). Compared with nonasthmatics, asthmatics were more often sensitized to molds (OR 2.25, CI 1.22-4.14, p=0.005), including Alternaria alternata (2.58, 1.23-5.39, p=0.011), cat dander (2.13, 1.24-3.69 p=0.006) and any tree pollen (1.85, 0.99-3.55 p=0.04).
Conclusions: Regional pollens contribute significantly to allergic disease in this unique climate. Sensitization to Alternaria and other nonregional aeroallergens is related to asthma. This supports our current practice of testing and treating patients for allergy to both locally significant and ubiquitous aeroallergens.