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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 1/2017

Causes of higher symptomatic airway load in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2017
Øystein Eskeland, Kjell Arild Danielsen, Fredrik Dahl, Katrin Fridrich, Vivian Cecilie Orszagh, Gregor Bachmann-Harildstad, Espen Burum-Auensen
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12901-017-0048-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Chronic rhinosinusitis display a variety of different phenotypes. The symptoms of disease are characterised by various signs and symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal discharge, pressure sensation in the face and reduced or complete loss of smell.
In a patient population undergoing functional endoscopic sinonasal surgery (FESS) for chronic rhinosinusitis, we wanted to investigate the clinical features and explore if the presence of biofilm, nasal polyps or other disease characteristic could serve as predictor for the symptomatic load. A patient group undergoing septoplasty without disease of the sinuses was included as control.


The Sinonasal outcome test (SNOT-20), EPOS visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Lund-Mackey CT score (LM CT score) were used to examine 23 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps (CRSsNP), 30 patient with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) and 22 patients with septal deviation. Tissue samples were collected prospectively during surgery. The cohort has previously been examined for the presence of biofilm.


Patients with CRSsNP and CRSwNP had significantly higher degree of symptoms compared to the septoplasty group (SNOT-20 scores of 39.8, 43.6 and 29.9, respectively, p = 0.034). There were no significant differences in the total SNOT-20 or VAS symptoms scores between the CRSsNP and CRSwNP subgroups. However patients with nasal polyps showed significantly higher scores of symptoms related to sinonasal discomfort such as cough, runny nose and need to blow nose (p = 0.011, p = 0.046, p = 0.001 respectively). Patients with nasal polyps showed a significantly higher LM CT score compared to patients without polyps (12.06 versus 8.00, p = 0.001). The presence of biofilm did not impact the degree of symptoms.


The presence of nasal polyp formations in CRS patients was associated with a higher symptomatic airway load as compared to patients without polyps. These findings suggest that nasal polyps could be an indicator of more substantial sinonasal disease. The presence of biofilm did not impact the degree of symptoms, however, as biofilm seem to be a common feature of chronic rhinosinusitis (89% in this cohort), it is more likely to be involved in the development of the CRS, rather than being a surrogate marker for increased symptomatic load.
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