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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2013 Nov-Dec;41(6):397-401. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Assessment of nasal obstruction: correlation between subjective and objective techniques.

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  • 1Grupo de Alergología Clínica y Experimental (GACE), Grupo Académico de Epidemiología Clínica (GRAEPIC), Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.



Nasal sensation of airflow describes the perception of the passage of air through the nose. Nasal obstruction can be assessed using subjective techniques (symptom scores and visual analogue scales [VAS]) and objective techniques (anterior rhinomanometry [RMN], acoustic rhinometry [AR], and peak nasal inspiratory flow [PNIF]). Few studies have evaluated the correlation between these techniques.


The primary objective of our study was to determine the degree of correlation between subjective and objective techniques to assess nasal obstruction.


Nasal obstruction was assessed using a symptom score, VAS, RMN, AR (minimal cross-sectional area [MCSA] and volume), and PNIF in 184 volunteer physicians. Spearman's rho was recorded. Correlations were considered weak if r ≤ 0.4, moderate if 0.4 < r < 0.8, and strong if r > 0.8.


Mean (SD) age was 37.1 (6.9) years (range, 25-56 years); 61% were women. We found a strong correlation (r > 0.8; p = 0.001) between the different parameters of RMN and a moderate correlation between symptom score and VAS (r = 0.686; p = 0.001) and between MCSA and RMN (resistance) (r = 0.496; p = 0.001) and PNIF (r = 0.459; p = 0.001). The correlations were weak or non-significant for the remaining comparisons.


Nasal obstruction can be assessed using subjective and objective approaches. The correlations between objective techniques were moderate to strong. In addition, between subjective techniques we reported a moderate correlation. Finally, the correlations between the subjective and objective techniques were weak and absent. These findings suggest that each of the techniques assesses different aspects of nasal obstruction, thus making them complementary.


Acoustic rhinometry; Anterior rhinomanometry; Inspiratory flow; Nasal obstruction; Peak nasal; Visual analogue scale

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