Pols, D.H.J., Bohnen, A.M., Nielen, M.M.J., Korevaar, J.C., Bindels, P.J.E.
Risks for comorbidity in children with atopic disorders: an observational study in Dutch general practices.
BMJ Open, 7 (2017) 11, p. e018091.
Objective: This study aimed to investigate both atopic and non-atopic comorbid symptoms and diseases in children with physician-diagnosed atopic disorders (atopic eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis).

Methods: All children aged 0–18 years listed in a nationwide primary care database (the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research-Primary Care Database) with routinely collected healthcare data in 2014 were selected. Children with atopic disorders were matched on age and gender with non-atopic controls within the same general practice. A total of 404 International Classification of Primary Care codes were examined. Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the associations between the presence of atopic disorders and (non-)atopic symptoms and diseases by calculating ORs.

Results: Having one of the atopic disorders significantly increased the risk of having other atopic-related symptoms, even if the child was not registered as having the related atopic disorder. Regarding non-atopic comorbidity, children with atopic eczema (n=15 530) were at significantly increased risk for (infectious) skin diseases (OR: 1.2–3.4). Airway symptoms or (infectious) diseases (OR: 2.1–10.3) were observed significantly more frequently in children with asthma (n=7887). Children with allergic rhinitis (n=6835) had a significantly distinctive risk of ear-nose-throat-related symptoms and diseases (OR: 1.5–3.9). Neither age nor gender explained these increased risks.

Conclusion: General practitioners are not always fully aware of relevant atopic and non-atopic comorbidity. In children known to have at least one atopic disorder, specific attention is required to avoid possible insufficient treatment and unnecessary loss of quality of life. (aut. ref.)