J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2009; Vol. 19, Suppl. 2: 21-26.
Introduction: In spite of the impact on quality of life, little attention has been given to chronic urticaria.
Objective: To describe the morbidity and features of urticaria and compare the results with the other allergic diseases included in this study.
Results: Urticaria is the fourth most prevalent condition after rhinitis, asthma and drug allergy. Despite this position, the number of patients who needed to visit emergency departments was higher (54.4%) than the rest of the sample (24.6%) (P < .001). The percentage of urticaria/angioedema patients with work absences was also higher than the rest of the sample suffering from other allergic conditions. We found significant differences in school performance between urticaria/angioedema children and children from of the rest of the sample (P = .029). Paired analysis identified significant differences in percentages of “bad school performance” for children suffering from urticaria/angioedema. Patients suffering from chronic urticaria scored in the lowest 25th percentile on physical impact. On psychological impact, urticaria patients scored below the 20th percentile of the general population. The general trend was to order extensive laboratory test for patients suffering from urticaria. In the present study, only one patient had a systemic disease, 13 patients had autoimmune and endocrine diseases often present with chronic urticaria. In spite of the insistence on the possible role of infections in chronic urticaria, in our study an infection could only be demonstrated in three patients.
Cconclusion: Based on these results, we believe that urticaria is a disease with significant morbidity and involves heavy use of healthcare services and as such deserves more resources and attention.