Reliability of EP3OS symptom criteria and nasal endoscopy in the assessment of chronic rhinosinusitis--a GA² LEN study

Allergy. 2011 Apr;66(4):556-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02503.x. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Background: The European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps (EP3OS) incorporates symptomatic, endoscopic, and radiologic criteria in the clinical diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), while in epidemiological studies, the definition is based on symptoms only. We aimed to assess the reliability and validity of a symptom-based definition of CRS using data from the GA(2) LEN European survey.

Methods: On two separate occasions, 1700 subjects from 11 centers provided information on symptoms of CRS, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. CRS was defined by the epidemiological EP3OS symptom criteria. The difference in prevalence of CRS between two study points, the standardized absolute repeatability, and the chance-corrected repeatability (kappa) were determined. In two centers, 342 participants underwent nasal endoscopy. The association of symptom-based CRS with endoscopy and self-reported doctor-diagnosed CRS was assessed.

Results: There was a decrease in prevalence of CRS between the two study phases, and this was consistent across all centers (-3.0%, 95% CI: -5.0 to -1.0%, I(2) = 0). There was fair to moderate agreement between the two occasions (kappa = 39.6). Symptom-based CRS was significantly associated with positive endoscopy in nonallergic subjects, and with self-reported doctor-diagnosed CRS in all subjects, irrespective of the presence of allergic rhinitis.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a symptom-based definition of CRS, according to the epidemiological part of the EP3OS criteria, has a moderate reliability over time, is stable between study centers, is not influenced by the presence of allergic rhinitis, and is suitable for the assessment of geographic variation in prevalence of CRS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endoscopy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / diagnosis*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Sinusitis / diagnosis*
  • Sinusitis / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult