Low 22-item sinonasal outcome test scores in chronic rhinosinusitis: Why do patients seek treatment?

Joshua M. Levy, Jess C. Mace, Luke Rudmik, Zachary M. Soler, Timothy L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) who experience minimal reductions in quality of life (QoL) may present for treatment despite QoL scores comparable to controls without CRS. This study seeks to identify cofactors influencing patients with CRS and low 22-item Sinonasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) scores to seek care. Study Design: Prospective, multicenter, observational cohort. Methods: Patients with CRS were enrolled between April 2011 and September 2015. Patients with sinonasal mucocele or unilateral sinus opacification were excluded. Control subjects without CRS were enrolled for comparison. Low-SNOT CRS was defined as a SNOT-22 score < 20. Results: A total of 774 subjects (low-SNOT CRS, n = 38; high-SNOT CRS, SNOT-22 ≥ 20, n = 641; controls without CRS, n = 95) were enrolled. Low SNOT scores were identified in 6% of subjects with CRS. After adjustment, low-SNOT CRS and control groups without CRS reported similar baseline average SNOT-22 total scores (P =.879). Unexpectedly, compared to controls, low-SNOT CRS patients had significantly better average psychological (2.1 ± 2.3 vs. 5.8 ± 6.0; P =.030) and sleep dysfunction (2.7 ± 3.4 vs. 6.0 ± 5.2; P =.016) scores. Fourteen of 38 (37%) low-SNOT patients elected to undergo endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS), with a significantly lower likelihood of reporting a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) when compared to high-SNOT patients (43% vs. 82%; P <.001) after a mean follow-up of ∼15 months. Conclusions: Low-SNOT CRS patients represent an outlier population for which measures of QoL fail to identify factors influencing the decision to seek treatment. Low-SNOT CRS patients electing ESS have a decreased likelihood of reporting MCIDs following ESS. Further study is required to identify novel factors associated with treatment-seeking behavior in this population. Level of Evidence: 3B Laryngoscope, 127:22–28, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • healthy volunteers
  • patient outcome assessment
  • quality of life
  • therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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