Samter’s Triad: Asthma, Nasal Polyps, and Aspirin Sensitivity
Asthma (hay fever) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by inflammation of the airways. The main symptoms are wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Other symptoms include cough, fatigue and coughing up blood.
Asthma affects approximately 5% of children under five years old worldwide.1–3
Nasal polyps are benign growths found within the nasal passages. They consist of mucus-secreting glands located at the base of the nose and may contain fluid or tissue.4 They can cause problems when they rupture causing infection, irritation or even swelling.5
Aspirin sensitivity refers to any condition where one experiences allergic reactions to aspirin, such as hives, itching or skin rashes after taking it.6
The most common causes of asthma are smoking, air pollution, genetic predisposition and stress.7 Smoking increases the risk of developing asthma by 20%.8 Air pollution is linked with increased rates of respiratory infections, including pneumonia.9 Genetic factors have been associated with susceptibility to asthma.10 Stress is known to increase the risk of developing asthma in both children and adults.11
In 2007, an estimated 1 billion people around the world suffer from allergies; however only about 0.5% of the population suffer from aspirin allergy.12
Nasal Polyps are a type of inflammatory growth that affect the lining of the nose. They can be caused by many different conditions such as allergies, infection and heredity. There is no cure for nasal polyps.
Treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms and preventing further growth.13 Most people who suffer fromnasal polyps also suffer from both hay fever and asthma.14
Aspirin is a type of medicine used to treat pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis. Aspirin can relieve the symptoms of some chronic diseases, but it should never be used to self-medicate for pain or fever without consulting a health care professional.15 In rare cases, people who are allergic to aspirin may experience an allergic reaction that is triggered by even a small dose of aspirin (about 80mg).16
Acute respiratory failure is a life-threatening condition caused by an inability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. This may be due to changes in the structure or function of the lungs or airways, disease processes within the lungs or the body as a whole, or issues relating to fluid balance. Acute respiratory failure is often a complication of an existing lung disease.
In severe cases it requires treatment in a hospital intensive care unit.
Aspirin is an antipyretic drug used to treat pain and fever. It can also be used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people with cardiovascular disease or risk factors.
Food allergies are caused by an immune system reaction to proteins in certain foods. An allergic reaction causes the body to produce histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation. Symptoms may include itching, swelling, rashes and difficulty breathing.
Sources & references used in this article:
The prevalence of Samter’s triad in patients undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery by JE Kim, SE Kountakis – Ear, nose & throat journal, 2007 – journals.sagepub.com
Medical and surgical considerations in patients with Samter’s triad by KC McMains, SE Kountakis – American journal of rhinology, 2006 – journals.sagepub.com
Samter’s triad in childhood: a warning for those prescribing NSAID s by R Ameratunga, N Randall, S Dalziel… – Pediatric …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library