Acoustic rhinometry in the study of the acute nasal allergic response

Burton Zweiman, Richard Doty, Andrew P. Lane, Donald C. Lanza, Hun Jun Dhong, David Swift, David W. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Acoustic rhinometry is a recently developed method for the objective assessment of nasal patency. In this study, acoustic rhinometry was used to measure changes in nasal cavity dimensions in the immediate response to nasal allergen challenge in eight pollen-sensitive subjects. Acoustic rhinometric changes were compared with subjective symptoms, as well as histamine in nasal secretions, cytology of nasal mucosal scrapings, and changes in olfactory function. A significantly greater decrease in nasal airway caliber occurred following allergen challenge as compared to buffer diluent challenge in the same individuals (70% ± 7% versus 22% ± 5%). During an allergic response, a strong correlation was found between the minimum cross-sectional area and the volume of the nasal cavity measured by acoustic rhinometry (r = .9). However, no correlation was observed between nasal airway caliber and concomitant subjective congestion reported by the subjects. A modest decrease in olfactory function was seen following allergen challenge ((3.1 ± 1.4 fewer odors identified correctly out of 20; p = .08). However, the alterations of olfactory function did not correlate with changes in nasal patency. The results presented in this study demonstrate that acoustic rhinometry has great potential as a reproducible method for the objective assessment of nasal obstruction occurring in nasal allergen challenge studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • acoustic rhinometry
  • nasal allergy
  • nasal patency
  • nasal provocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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