Background: Patients with nasal septal perforation appear from time to time in Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) practices, but the prevalence in a general population is not known.
Objective: The objective was to investigate the prevalence of nasal septal perforation in an adult Swedish population, and to relate septal perforation to possible risk factors, such as age, gender, diabetes mellitus, nasal polyps, and smoking.
Methods: A random sample of 1,900 inhabitants over the age of 20, stratified for age and gender, was drawn from the municipal population register in Skövde, Sweden, in December 2000. Subjects were called to clinical visits that included questions about diabetes and smoking habits. Nasal endoscopy was performed and, when a perforation was observed, the size was measured.
Results: In total, 1,387 volunteers (73% of the sample) were investigated. The sample size was adequate, with a good fit to the whole population. The prevalence of nasal septal perforation was 0.9% [95% CI 0.5-1.6%]. Nasal polyps was a possible risk factor, odds ratio of 11.5 [95% CI 3.0-43.5], but not age, gender, diabetes, or smoking.
Conclusion: The prevalence of nasal septal perforation was found to be less than 1% in an adult population.