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Clinical assessment of nasal decongestion test by VAS in adolescents


Gian Luigi Marseglia, Department of Pediatric Sciences, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, P.le Golgi, 2, 27100 Pavia, Italy
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Nasal airflow, as measured by rhinomanometry, is frequently impaired in allergic rhinitis (AR). The decongestion test evaluates whether the application of an intranasal vasoconstrictor drug increases nasal airflow. The aim of this study was to verify the suitability of the use of the visual analogue scales (VAS) as a surrogate for rhinomanometry in the decongestion test assessment in adolescents with atopic rhinitis. Forty adolescents [16 males and 24 females, mean age 15 (s.d. 2) yr] with AR were studied. Nasal symptoms, VAS, rhinomanometry, and nasal decongestion test were assessed in all patients. A significant association was observed between VAS and nasal airflow after performing the decongestion test (Spearman’s r is −51.7%, p < 0.001). The associated sensitivity and specificity were 84.8 (95% confidence interval, CI 68.1–94.8) and 85.7 (95% CI 42.2–97.6), respectively. The corresponding area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.83 (95% CI 0.67–0.93) indicated a good discriminating ability for the decongestion measured on the VAS scale. In conclusion, the use of VAS appears as clinically relevant, in that it allows, with a fair reliability, to perform the decongestion test in the absence of rhinomanometry.