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Non-infectious rhinitis is more strongly associated with early-rather than late-onset of COPD: data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS)

Journal article
Authors Joel Bergqvist
A. Andersson
Linus Schiöler
Anna-Carin Olin
Nicola Murgia
M. Bove
C. Janson
M. J. Abramson
B. Leynaert
D. Nowak
K. A. Franklin
I. Pin
T. Storaas
V. Schlunssen
J. Heinrich
Johan Hellgren
Published in European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Volume 277
Pages 1353-1359
ISSN 0937-4477
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Pages 1353-1359
Language en
Keywords Epidemiology, COPD, Rhinitis, Spirometry, Co-morbidity, occupational-exposure, risk-factors, disease, prevalence, asthma, impact, Otorhinolaryngology
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology


Purpose Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with several co-morbidities and non-infectious rhinitis (NIR) has emerged as a new possible co-morbidity. The primary aim of this study is to confirm a previously reported association between NIR and COPD in a multicentre population over time. The secondary aim is to investigate the course over time of such an association through a comparison between early- and late-onset COPD. Methods This study is part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). A random adult population from 25 centres in Europe and one in Australia was examined with spirometry and answered a respiratory questionnaire in 1998-2002 (ECRHS II) and in 2008-2013 (ECRHS III). Symptoms of non-infectious rhinitis, hay fever and asthma, and smoking habits were reported. Subjects reporting asthma were excluded. COPD was defined as a spirometry ratio of FEV1/FVC < 0.7. A total of 5901 subjects were included. Results Non-infectious rhinitis was significantly more prevalent in subjects with COPD compared with no COPD (48.9% vs 37.1%, p < 0.001) in ECRHS II (mean age 43) but not in ECHRS III (mean age 54). In the multivariable regression model adjusted for COPD, smoking, age, BMI, and gender, non-infectious rhinitis was associated with COPD in both ECRHS II and III. Conclusion Non-infectious rhinitis was significantly more common in subjects with COPD at a mean age of 43. Ten years later, the association was weaker. The findings indicate that NIR could be associated with the early onset of COPD.

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