American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy vol:3 issue:1 pages:e16-24
In the African continent, the sensitization pattern and clinical profile are unknown in patients with rhinitis/rhinosinusitis attending the outpatient ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinics. We therefore aimed to analyze the clinical characteristics of rhinitis/rhinosinusitis patients in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), classify allergic rhinitis (AR) according to the Allergic Rhinitis and Its Impact on Asthma criteria, and evaluate the sensitization profile and its associated factors. From January to May 2009, 423 patients with rhinitis symptoms attending the Outpatient ENT clinic of the University Hospital and Saint Joseph Hospital of Kinshasa were evaluated for allergy symptoms, severity, and duration of symptoms and underwent skin-prick tests (SPTs) for a panel of 15 allergens. Of 423 patients 35.2% had positive SPT results, with 40.9% showing polysensitization. Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DPT) (68.5%) and cockroach (36.2%) were the most common allergens among sensitized patients. Patients with rhinitis/rhinosinusitis mainly presented in decreasing order with sneezing, facial pain/pressure, nasal obstruction, postnasal discharge, nose itching, clear nasal discharge, and eye itching. Persistent and moderate/severe AR represented 61.4 and 69.3%, respectively. Sensitization was independently associated with younger age, rhinoconjunctivitis, and reaction to nonspecific trigger factors. In conclusion, 35.2% of patients attending the ENT Outpatient Clinic in DRC for rhinitis problems had a positive SPT to at least one allergen, with mainly DPT and cockroach allergens being involved; and a substantial portion showed persistent and moderate/severe AR. Therefore, allergy should not be neglected as an etiologic factor in rhinologic disease in the African continent.