OBJECTIVE: Allergic disease plays a central role in the clinical practice of otolaryngology. The purpose of this study was to review the 20-year experience of an allergy clinic integrated within an otolaryngology practice at a major academic institution. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a retrospective database review of over 3300 otolaryngology patients referred for allergy skin testing between 1979 and 1999. RESULTS: Approximately 80% of patients referred for allergy testing in our clinic had positive test results, of which 75.7% went on to undergo desensitization. The most common allergen was house dust, with allergies to mites, ragweed, and grass also prevalent. Among current allergy immunotherapy patients, 30.8% have undergone nasal septal, turbinate, and/or endoscopic sinus procedures In addition to allergy management. Nasal obstruction was the symptom most frequently persistent despite immunotherapy and the one most frequently reported to be improved by surgery. CONCLUSIONS: The otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon is uniquely qualified to perform comprehensive medical and surgical management for patients with complex disease processes involving a component of allergy. We believe that an integrated approach to allergy within an otolaryngology practice optimizes the treatment of such patients.
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