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Nasal cytology in children: recent advances

Matteo Gelardi1, Gian Luigi Marseglia2*, Amelia Licari2, Massimo Landi3, Ilaria Dell’Albani4, Cristoforo Incorvaia5, Franco Frati4 and Nicola Quaranta1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otolaryngology, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

2 Department of Pediatrics, Foundation IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Italy, P.le Golgi, 2-27100, Pavia (PV), Italy

3 Paediatrics, ASL TO1 Turin, Turin, Italy

4 Medical and Scientific Department, Stallergenes, Milan, Italy

5 Allergy/Pulmonary rehabilitation, ICP Hospital, Milan, Italy

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Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2012, 38:51  doi:10.1186/1824-7288-38-51

Published: 25 September 2012


Nasal cytology is a very useful diagnostic tool in nasal disorders, being able to detect both the cellular modifications of the nasal epithelium caused by either allergen exposure or irritative stimuli (that may be physical or chemical, acute or chronic), or inflammation. Over these past few years, nasal cytology has allowed to identify new disorders, such as the non-allergic rhinitis with eosinophils (NARES), the non-allergic rhinitis with mast cells (NARMA), the non-allergic rhinitis with neutrophils (NARNE), and the non-allergic rhinitis with eosinophils and mast cells (NARESMA). The rhinocytogram is actually able to distinguish the different forms of allergic rhinitis and to suggest the appropriate treatment, such as antinflammatory drugs or allergen immunotherapy. The technique is easy to perform and nasal cytology is therefore particularly suitable even for children. Such a consideration suggests the utility of a systematic use of nasal cytology in the diagnostic work-up of nasal disorders in children, in order to reach a proper defined diagnosis and to set a rational therapeutic approach: in facts, these two elements are fundamental in order to prevent from complications and to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Nasal cytology; Allergic rhinitis; Non-allergic rhinitis; Classification; Allergen immunotherapy