Objective: Molecular similarities of grass pollen antigens have led to the view that cross-reactivity exists within members of the Pooideae subfamily of grasses. This has resulted in testing for only the most antigenically representative member of Pooideae, Timothy grass (Phleum pratense), despite little literature to support the claim that Phleum is the most representative member or that in vitro cross-reactivity correlates with in vivo cross-reactivity. The aim of the study was to determine if patients with allergic rhinitis symptoms and positive skin prick test results to meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis) also have positive results to Timothy grass.

Study Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Setting: Tertiary care center in middle Missouri.

Methods: A retrospective chart review identified patients ≥12 years old with a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis who underwent skin prick testing between March 2016 and July 2018, by using a search with CPT code 95004 (Current Procedural Terminology). Positive skin prick test results were based on wheal produced ≥3 mm than the negative control.

Results: After review of 2182 charts, 1587 patients met criteria to test for Phleum and Festuca. In total, 1239 patients had a positive result for Phleum or Festuca. Of these, 479 (38.6%) tested positive for Festuca alone, while 342 (27.6%) and 418 (33.7%) tested positive for Phleum alone and Phleum+Festuca, respectively.

Conclusion: Clinical cross-reactivity among Pooideae members may not be as complete as traditionally thought. P pratense may not be the most antigenically representative subfamily member, and other grasses may need to be included in skin prick testing.

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Published in OTO Open. v. 5, issue 1.

© The Authors 2021

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

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