Serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) was measured by double antibody radioimmunoassay in 32 children with bronchiolitis and 30 age-matched control subjects. Bronchiolitis in 15 patients (Vermont group) was associated with a respiratory syncytial (RS) virus epidemic. Bronchiolitis occurred sporadically (nonepidemic) in 17 patients from Baltimore. The geometric mean serum IgE concentration of the sporadic bronchiolitis group (Baltimore) was significantly higher than that of their age- and race-matched controls (100 ng/ml versus 25 ng/ml, respectively, p < .025 ). No difference was found in geometric mean IgE concentration between the epidemic bronchiolitis group (Vermont) and their age- and race-matched controls (47 ng/ml versus 38 ng/ml, respectively, p » .1). Thirty-five percent (6/17) of the children with sporadic bronchiolitis had IgE levels above the 95th percentile for age as compared to approximately 6% for children with epidemic bronchiolitis and the normal control groups. These findings lend support to the concept of a heterogeneous etiology for bronchiolitis. Furthermore, the data suggest that measurement of the serum IgE concentration may be of value in identifying those bronchiolitic children at high risk for the subsequent development of asthma and other respiratory allergies.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.