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Correlation between Subjective Nasal Patency and Intranasal Airflow Distribution. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2017 04;156(4):741-750



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Objectives (1) Analyze the relationship between intranasal airflow distribution and subjective nasal patency in healthy and nasal airway obstruction (NAO) cohorts using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). (2) Determine whether intranasal airflow distribution is an important objective measure of airflow sensation that should be considered in future NAO virtual surgery planning. Study Design Cross-sectional. Setting Academic tertiary medical center and academic dental clinic. Subjects and Methods Three-dimensional models of nasal anatomy were created based on computed tomography scans of 15 patients with NAO and 15 healthy subjects and used to run CFD simulations of nasal airflow and mucosal cooling. Subjective nasal patency was quantified with a visual analog scale (VAS) and the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE). Regional distribution of nasal airflow (inferior, middle, and superior) was quantified in coronal cross sections in the narrowest nasal cavity. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to quantify the correlation between subjective scores and regional airflows. Results Healthy subjects had significantly higher middle airflow than patients with NAO. Subjective nasal patency had no correlation with inferior and superior airflows but a high correlation with middle airflow (| r| = 0.64 and | r| = 0.76 for VAS and NOSE, respectively). Anterior septal deviations tended to shift airflow inferiorly, reducing middle airflow and reducing mucosal cooling in some patients with NAO. Conclusion Reduced middle airflow correlates with the sensation of nasal obstruction, possibly due to a reduction in mucosal cooling in this region. Further research is needed to elucidate the role of intranasal airflow distribution in the sensation of nasal airflow.

Author List

Casey KP, Borojeni AA, Koenig LJ, Rhee JS, Garcia GJ


Guilherme Garcia PhD Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin
John S. Rhee MD Chair, Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Airway Resistance
Computational Biology
Computer Simulation
Cross-Sectional Studies
Models, Anatomic
Models, Biological
Nasal Cavity
Nasal Obstruction
Reference Values
jenkins-FCD Prod-467 7c8a156729bba74d775d9c546792cde315827259