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Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2017 Jul;7(7):734-740. doi: 10.1002/alr.21940. Epub 2017 May 18.

Understanding the relationship between olfactory-specific quality of life, objective olfactory loss, and patient factors in chronic rhinosinusitis.

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Division of Rhinology and Sinus Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.
Department of Surgery, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC.



Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) significantly impacts olfaction. However, the relationship between objective olfaction and patient-reported olfactory-specific quality of life (QOL) is not well understood. Furthermore, objective olfactory testing can be time consuming, so we sought to determine if patient-reported olfactory QOL can be used as screening tool for olfactory dysfunction.


Olfactory dysfunction was evaluated in 109 patients with CRS using the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders-Negative Statements (QOD-NS) and the Sniffin' Sticks Test, assessing for olfactory threshold, discrimination, identification, and overall composite scores (TDI; composite score of threshold, discrimination, and identification). Regression analysis was performed to correlate olfactory metrics and patient and disease-specific factors with QOD-NS scores. Optimal QOD-NS scores to classify patients based upon objective olfactory function were established.


Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses of QOD-NS and CRS-associated comorbidities, objective measures of disease, demographics, and CRS-specific QOL were performed. Non-white race, depression, and worse 22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) scores correlated with worse QOD-NS scores (p < 0.005). Worse TDI scores correlated with worse QOD-NS scores, and discrimination had the strongest correlation (p < 0.001). Mean ± standard deviation (SD) QOD-NS scores for normosmia, hyposmia, and anosmia were 44 ± 7.2, 35.7 ± 12.8, and 31.6 ± 10.7, respectively. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.770 (p < 0.001), and a QOD-NS cutoff of 38.5 to have maximal Youden's index to define normal vs abnormal TDI score.


In CRS, QOD-NS correlates with non-white race, depression, SNOT-22, and TDI score, with discrimination having the strongest correlation. The QOD-NS also appears to be a feasible tool for olfaction screening.


chronic sinusitis; olfaction; quality of life; smell loss; sniffin' sticks

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