Comparison of disease-specific quality-of-life instruments in the assessment of chronic rhinosinusitis

Lourdes Quintanilla-Dieck, Jamie R. Litvack, Jess C. Mace, Timothy Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background: Many disease-specific, quality-of-life (QOL) instruments exist for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), resulting in confusion about the best application and use of each instrument. We hypothesized that the most prevalently utilized instruments do not strongly correlate in all domains, but rather act in complementary fashion for QOL assessment. Methods: A systematic literature review (MEDLINE) was performed to identify the type and frequency of available CRS-specific QOL instruments. Univariate analyses of the 3 most common instruments (Rhinosinusitis Disability Index [RSDI], Chronic Sinusitis Survey [CSS] and 22-item Sinonasal Outcomes Test [SNOT-22]) were performed using a multi-institutional prospective cohort of sinusitis patients. Results: Systematic literature review found that the SNOT-20 (and its derivatives), RSDI, and CSS are the most commonly utilized CRS-specific QOL instruments. The majority of RSDI domains were weakly or not correlated with the CSS domains (r = 0.097-0.501; p < 0.001). In contrast, the RSDI was highly correlated with the SNOT-22 (r ≥ 0.666; p < 0.001). Patients with asthma and/or allergies reported significantly worse CSS scores (p < 0.001). Comorbidities had no significant impact on RSDI or SNOT-22 responses. Conclusion: Different disease-specific CRS QOL instruments measure different aspects of the patient's experience. The RSDI and SNOT-22 are more sensitive to measuring the emotional impact of CRS, whereas the CSS examines medication use and symptoms. These instruments play complementary roles in the evaluation of CRS treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Endoscopy
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Quality of life
  • Sinusitis
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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