Incidence of medico-surgical treatment for nasal polyps on the development of associated asthma

Rhinology. 1992 Dec;30(4):249-58.


The surgical treatment of nasal polyps (in asthmatic patients) is still controversial today because of the contradictory, inconsistent, and unforeseen results reported in the literature. The 50 patients included in this study (mean age 49 years, range 25-67 years) came for a check-up on an average of 18 months (lower limit 12 months, upper limit 40 months) after a radical endoscopic intranasal ethmoidectomy. Thirty patients suffered from polyps and bronchial hyperreactivity; 12 patients in this group also suffered from aspirin intolerance. Twenty patients suffered from nasal polyps alone, and served as a control series. The following parameters were methodically noted relative to the date of ethmoidectomy: 1) the frequency of attacks and possible intervals of respiratory difficulty, pre- and postoperatively; 2) the basic treatment for the asthma, and the difference in size of the therapeutic doses necessary and/or the elimination of one or more therapeutic classes; 3) bronchospasticity, evaluated pre- and postoperatively by auscultation for wheezing and peak flow measurements. A bronchial challenge with carbamyl choline and a four-doses aspirin challenge over two days (10 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 400 mg) were carried out pre-and postoperatively in the absence of contra-indications. Ninety-one per cent of the patients have improved and now live in less discomfort. The factors studied show a lower frequency of attacks, a distinct decrease of respiratory difficulty, less need for anti-asthmatic medication and especially less oral corticoids, and a marked improvement in functional respiratory test. The carbamyl choline test confirms these data and even shows the totally reversible nature of nonspecific bronchial hyperreactivity in 30% of these patients. This series is too limited for us to say that intolerance to aspirin is reversible; perhaps only the reactivity threshold changes. In the 20 subjects with nasal polyps alone, no case of asthma have been recorded since the operation. Improvement of the asthmatic condition may be partly dependent upon a global diagnosis and treatment of the patient by the pneumo-immunoallergologist and the ENT-specialist. However, the nature of the surgical act seems to be of prime importance, and we must insist on the need for a radical marsupialization of the paranasal sinuses.

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Ethmoid Sinus / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Polyps / complications
  • Nasal Polyps / surgery*


  • Aspirin