Concomitant rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps (RSsNP) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with a poorer, disease-specific, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), a Norwegian study is showing.
“Chronic rhinosinusitis has an impact on patients’ HRQoL,” lead author Marte Rystad Øie, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway, told Medscape Medical News in an email.
“We found that RSsNP in COPD was associated with more psychological issues, higher COPD symptom burden, and overall COPD-related HRQoL after adjusting for lung function, so RSsNP does have clinical relevance and [our findings] support previous studies that have suggested that rhinosinusitis should be recognized as a comorbidity in COPD,” she emphasized.
The study was published in the November 1 issue of Respiratory Medicine.
The study sample consisted of 90 patients with COPD and 93 control subjects, all age 40-80 years. “Generic HRQoL was measured with the Norwegian version of the SF-36v2 Health Survey Standard questionnaire,” the authors write, and responses were compared between patients with COPD and controls as well as between subgroups of patients who had COPD both with and without RSsNP.
Disease-specific HRQoL was assessed by the Sinonasal Outcome Test-22 (SNOT-22); the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and the COPD Assessment Test (CAT), and responses were again compared between patients who had COPD with and without RSsNP. In the COPD group, “severe” and “very severe” airflow obstruction was present in 56.5% of patients with RSsNP compared with 38.6% of patients without RSsNP, as Øie reports.
Furthermore, total SNOT-22 along with psychological subscale scores were both significantly higher in patients who had COPD with RSsNP than those without RSsNP. Among those with RSsNP, the mean value of the total SNOT-22 score was 36.8 whereas the mean value of the psychological subscale score was 22.6. Comparable mean values among patients who had COPD without RSsNP were 9.5 and 6.5, respectively (P < .05).
Total scores on the SGRQ were again significantly greater in patients who had COPD with RSsNP at a mean of 43.3 compared with a mean of 34 in those without RSsNP, investigators observe. Similarly, scores for the symptom and activity domains again on the SGRQ were significantly greater for patients who had COPD with RSsNP than those without nasal polyps. As for the total CAT score, once again it was significantly higher in patients who had COPD with RSsNP at a mean of 18.8 compared with a mean of 13.5 in those without RSsNP (P < .05).
Indeed, patients with RSsNP were four times more likely to have CAT scores indicating the condition was having a high or very high impact on their HRQoL compared with patients without RSsNP (P < .001). As the authors point out, having a high impact on HRQoL translates into patients having to stop their desired activities and having no good days in the week.
“This suggests that having RSsNP substantially adds to the activity limitation experienced by patients with COPD,” they emphasize. The authors also found that RSsNP was significantly associated with poorer physical functioning after adjusting for COPD as reflected by SF-36v2 findings, again suggesting that patients who had COPD with concomitant RSsNP have an additional limitation in activity and a heavier symptom burden.
As Øie explained, rhinosinusitis has two clinical phenotypes: that with nasal polyps and that without nasal polyps, the latter being twice as prevalent. In fact, rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps is associated with asthma, as she pointed out. Given, however, that rhinosinusitis without polyps is amenable to treatment with daily use of nasal steroids, it is possible to reduce the burden of symptoms and psychological stress associated with RSsNP in COPD.
Limitations of the study include the fact that investigators did not assess patients for the presence of any comorbidities that potentially could contribute to poorer HRQoL in this patient population.
The study was funded by Liaison Committee between the Central Norway Regional Health Authority and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Respir Med. Published online October 13, 2021. Full text
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