A placebo-controlled trial of a HEPA air cleaner in the treatment of cat allergy

R. A. Wood, E. F. Johnson, M. L. Van Natta, Hua Chen Pei Hua Chen, P. A. Eggleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


To evaluate the effect of a room high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner on cat-induced asthma and rhinitis, 35 cat-allergic subjects who were living with one or more cats were studied in a doubleblind, placebo controlled trial. After a 1 mo baseline period, subjects' bedrooms were equipped with an active or placebo air cleaner for the following 3 mo. Evaluations included monthly measurement of cat-allergen levels, daily morning, afternoon, and nighttime nasal- and chest-symptom scores, twice- daily measurement of peak-flow rates, daily medication scores, monthly spirometry, and methacholine (MCh) challenge testing before and after the study. Airborne allergen levels were reduced in the active-filter group as compared with the placebo group (p = 0.045). However, no differences were detected in settled-dust allergen levels (p = 0.485), morning, afternoon, or nighttime nasalsymptom scores (p = 0.769, 0.534, and 0.138), chest-symptom scores (p = 0.388, 0.179, and 0.215), sleep disturbance (p = 0.101), morning or afternoon peak-flow rates (p = 0.424 and 0.679), or rescue medication use (nasal, p = 0.164, chest, p = 0.650), respectively. Although the combination of a HEPA room air cleaner, mattress and pillow covers, and cat exclusion from the bedroom did reduce airborne cat-allergen levels, no effect on disease activity was detected for any parameter studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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