Nasal allergy linked to chronic ear drainage
By Will Boggs, MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The findings of a new study suggest that nasal allergies can cause chronic secretory otitis media, a condition involving persistent drainage of fluid from the ear that usually results from ear infections.
Dr. Zdenek Pelikan, with the Allergy Research Foundation in Breda, the Netherlands, and associates investigated the possible role of nasal allergy in secretory otitis media in adults and determined if allergy testing in combination with ear examination can help diagnose the disorder.
Of 69 patients with secretory otitis media, 54 tested positive for possible nasal allergy, the researchers report in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Most of the patients with a positive allergy test result had abnormal ear pressure when tested.
Conversely, in a separate group of 42 patients who had nasal allergy, but not secretory otitis media, all of the ear pressures were normal.
"Results of our study show that chronic secretory otitis media can also be caused by nasal allergy, at least in some cases, and it can occur also in adult patients," Pelikan concluded. "Diagnostic confirmation of this relationship may result in more (secretory otitis media) treatment focused on the nasal allergy."
SOURCE: Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, November 2007.