Biological rhythmicity of nasal airway patency: a re-examination of the 'nasal cycle'

Acta Otolaryngol. 1987 Jul-Aug;104(1-2):180-6. doi: 10.3109/00016488709109065.


Rhinomanometric observations of nasal airway patency were obtained for each nasal passage every 10 min throughout an uninterrupted 8-h session. The 49 airflow observations for each nasal passage were subjected to autocorrelation analysis, a statistical technique for quantifying periodicities in a temporal sequence of observations. No significant periodicities were found in any of the 16 subjects when the autocorrelation functions were interpreted by conventional statistical criteria. However, when less stringent criteria were applied, we found suggestive evidence for rhythmicity in one (7 subjects) or both nasal passages (2 subjects). The relationship in patency between the two sides of the nose was characterized with correlation coefficients. These correlations were significantly negative in 7 subjects, indicating bilateral reciprocity of patency. In addition, the correlations were significantly positive in one, and nonsignificant in 8 subjects. Only a minority of subjects (13%) displayed the classical nasal cycle, i.e., rhythmicity in both nasal passages as well as reciprocity of patency between passages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activity Cycles*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / methods
  • Nose / physiology*