To evaluate the predictive value of asymptomatic early house dust mite sensitization on allergic outcomes and pulmonary functions in 7-year olds.
The Prediction of Allergies in Taiwanese Children (PATCH) birth cohort study recruited healthy newborns at birth. At age 1.5–2 years, a Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus-specific immunoglobulin E level ≥ 0.35 kU/L was defined as early sensitization. At age 7 years, allergic outcomes were evaluated by pediatric allergists and pulmonologists, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide and pulmonary functions were measured.
At age 1.5–2 years, 28.0% of toddlers were sensitized to D. pteronyssinus. Among them, 68.2% had no allergic symptoms at that time. At age 7 years, the children with early sensitization had higher risks of asthma (OR = 13.4, 95% CI, 1.2 to 153.0; P = 0.037), allergic rhinitis (OR = 10.2, 95% CI, 2.1 to 49.6; P = 0.004), and atopic dermatitis (OR = 38.5, 95% CI, 2.1 to 696.4; P = 0.014). Notably, even the asymptomatic toddlers with early D. pteronyssinus sensitization had higher probabilities of asthma (12.5% vs. 1.7%, P = 0.040), allergic rhinitis (83.3% vs. 43.1%, P = 0.009), and atopic dermatitis (20.8% vs. 0.0%, P < 0.001) at age 7 years. The asymptomatic toddlers with early sensitization also had higher exhaled nitric oxide levels and higher prevalence of airway hyperresponsiveness at age 7 years.