Quality-of-life and olfaction changes observed with short-term medical management of chronic rhinosinusitis

Andrew J. Thomas, Jess C. Mace, Vijay R. Ramakrishnan, Jeremiah A. Alt, Jose L. Mattos, Rodney J. Schlosser, Zachary M. Soler, Timothy L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) commonly experience both reduced quality of life (QOL) and olfactory dysfunction (OD). Literature on the impacts of appropriate medical therapy (AMT) for CRS on QOL and OD is limited, and the focused design of these studies may limit their applicability to usual clinical practice. Methods: Adults with symptomatic CRS were prospectively enrolled (November 2016 to October 2018) into an observational, multi-institutional study. Individualized AMT was initiated using standard practice according to evidence-based guidelines. Endoscopy examination (Lund-Kennedy), olfactory function (Sniffin’ Sticks) testing, and QOL survey responses (22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test [SNOT-22], Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders―Negative Statements [QOD-NS]) were obtained at enrollment and follow-up. Results: Baseline measures demonstrated heterogeneity of QOL and OD. After an average of 7.8 weeks, within-subject median SNOT-22 total improved by 39.5% (n = 39, p < 0.001) relative to baseline, including 50% (p = 0.014) improvement for item #21, “Sense of smell/taste.” QOD-NS improvement was also statistically significant (p = 0.044). Sniffin’ Sticks score relative improvement of 10.9% (n = 33, p = 0.109) was not statistically significant and lacked correlation with SNOT-22 total scores (R = −0.247, p = 0.165) or QOD-NS total scores (R = −0.016, p = 0.930), but correlated moderately with endoscopy score (R = −0.436, p = 0.018). Conclusions: Participants with varied impacts of CRS, treated with individualized short-term AMT, demonstrated significant improvements in CRS- and olfactory-specific QOL measures, without corresponding improvement in clinically measured olfactory function. Olfactory function changes moderately correlated with endoscopy score changes, but lacked an association with QOL measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-664
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • chronic disease
  • outcome assessment (health care)
  • quality of life
  • sinusitis
  • smell
  • therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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