To investigate the relationship between nasal cavity dimensions and airflow based on measures of acoustic rhinometry (AR) and peak nasal inspiratory flow (PNIF) in a very large sample of mixed rhinologic and nonrhinologic patients.
Clinical survey conducted between 2001 and 2007.
Secondary referral ambulatory center and hospital.
The study population comprised 2523 consecutive adult patients, mainly white, referred to the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Sørlandet Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway, for evaluation of sleep-related disorders (eg, snoring, sleep apnea) or chronic nasal complaints.
The subjects underwent AR and PNIF at baseline and after decongestion of the nasal mucosa with xylometazoline hydrochloride. Questionnaires and height and weight measurements were obtained prior to the nasal recordings.
Main Outcome Measure
Associations between measures of AR (volume and area) and PNIF.
Nearly linear relationships were found between PNIF in 4 categories and nasal cavity volumes and minimal cross-sectional areas (analysis of variance, P < .001; post hoc analysis, P < .01). Adjusted associations between 5 of 6 AR measures and PNIF both at baseline and after decongestion were significant (P < .001 in 9 cases and P = .03 in 1 case).
Our study indicates statistically significant associations between nasal cavity dimensions and PNIF. The most important structural determinant for PNIF is the minimal cross-sectional area of the nasal cavity.