Critical evaluation of different objective techniques of nasal airway assessment: a clinical review
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Objective tests for the nasal volume flow are needed for the assessment of nasal patency for diagnosis, documentation and medicolegal purposes. Three main techniques are nowadays established: active anterior rhinomanometry (AAR), 4-phase rhinomanometry (4PR) and acoustic rhinometry (AR). Several guidelines and consensus reports and the International Committee on Standardization have clarified the field of interest and the limitations of this technology. In the meantime, technical progress and the development of seemingly new methods have brought up many new facts which necessitate the re-evaluation of the test available. From our method of critical analysis we can conclude that AAR can be still considered as the standard technique for the objective assessment of the nasal airway. AR is a valid technique with limitations and cannot replace AAR because it measures different parameters thus forming a complementary technique. 4PR might provide supplementary information although not yet all open technical and mathematical inconsistencies conjoint with this technique have been clarified. Still the individual subjective sensations of the patient do not always match the objective measurements. In conclusion, a combination of information given by the patient, the rhinoscopic findings and the carefully interpreted results of AAR and AR will increase considerably the success of surgical interventions and the feeling of satisfaction by the patient after surgery, when matched thoughtfully.