University Of Tasmania

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Thunderstorm asthma in seasonal allergic rhinitis: The TAISAR study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 16:49 authored by Douglass, JA, Lodge, C, Chan, S, Doherty, A, Tan, JA, Jin, C, Stewart, A, Southcott, AM, Gillman, A, Lee, J, Csutoros, D, Hannan, L, Ruane, L, Barnes, S, Irving, L, Harun, NS, Lachapelle, P, Spriggs, K, Sutherland, M, See, K, McDonald, CF, Conron, M, Radhakrishna, N, Worsnop, C, Fay JohnstonFay Johnston, Davies, JM, Bryant, V, Iles, L, Ranson, D, Spanos, P, Vicendese, D, Lowe, A, Newbigin, EJ, Bardin, P, Dharmage, S

Background: Asthma epidemics associated with thunderstorms have had catastrophic effects on individuals and emergency services. Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) is present in the vast majority of people who develop thunderstorm asthma (TA), but there is little evidence regarding risk factors for TA among the SAR population.

Objective: We sought to identify risk factors for a history of TA and hospital presentation in a cohort of individuals with SAR.

Methods: This multicenter study recruited adults from Melbourne, Australia, with a past diagnosis of TA and/or self-reported SAR. Clinical information, spirometry results, white blood cell count, ryegrass pollen-specific (RGP-sp) IgE concentration, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide were measured to identify risk factors for a history of TA in individuals with SAR.

Results: From a total of 228 individuals with SAR, 35% (80 of 228) reported SAR only (the I-SAR group), 37% (84 of 228) reported TA symptoms but had not attended hospital for treatment (the O-TA group), and 28% (64 of 228) had presented to the hospital for TA (the H-TA group). All patients in the H-TA group reported a previous asthma diagnosis. Logistic regression analysis of factors associated with O-TA and H-TA indicated that lower FEV1 value and an Asthma Control Questionnaire score higher than 1.5 were associated with H-TA. Higher blood RGP-sp IgE concentration, eosinophil counts, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide level were significantly associated with both O-TA and H-TA. Receiver operating curve analysis showed an RGP-sp IgE concentration higher than 10.1 kU/L and a prebronchodilator FEV1 value of 90% or lower to be biomarkers of increased H-TA risk.

Conclusion: Clinical tests can identify risk of a history of TA in individuals with SAR and thereby inform patient-specific treatment recommendations.


Publication title

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology










Menzies Institute for Medical Research



Place of publication

United States

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Social impacts of climate change and variability; Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified