BACKGROUND: The assessment of allergic asthma (AA) and allergic rhinitis (AR) in epidemiological studies is often challenging. We performed a cross-sectional study to test the accuracy of a Questionnaire aimed at Identifying subjects with Respiratory Allergy (QIRA) in a simple and fast way.
METHODS: One hundred-thirty subjects, 18-76 years of age, admitted consecutively at the Allergy Center of the Niguarda Ca` Granda Hospital of Milan were included. The questionnaire (index test) investigated the presence of AA and AR with seven questions enquiring history of symptoms, diagnosis made by a doctor, allergy tests performed, and treatments. After completing the questionnaire, all subjects were subsequently diagnosed by an allergist (reference standard).
RESULTS: The accuracy of the questionnaire for the diagnosis of AA and AR was high (sensitivity 94.7% [95% confidence interval CI: 74.0-99.9] and specificity 99.1% [95% CI 95.1-100.0] for AA; sensitivity 82.8% [95% CI 71.3-91.1] and specificity 98.5% [95% CI 91.8-100.0] for AR).
CONCLUSION: The questionnaire significantly distinguished subjects with respiratory allergy from those without. The QIRA represents a valid and accurate tool for classifying subjects as having or not AA and/or AR in epidemiological studies.
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