A survey of Bulgarian physicians found that nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis are common motivators for patients to see their physicians.
During a 20-day period, 69 general practitioners (GPs), otorhinolaryngologists (ORLs) and allergists (ALRGs) in Bulgaria completed surveys on 1,685 patients to assess how nasal symptoms impact their practices and affect their patients’ quality of life. The survey comprised 890 females and 795 males; patients were aged from 4 to 88 years.
The Symptoms of Nasal Inconvenience Fact Finding (SNIFF) survey was created to determine how many patients see physicians for nasal problems, assess the type of nasal conditions patients are experiencing, and determine the differences according to type of physician.
Surveys were assessed and ranked using the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines. Among the findings, more patients sought help for their nasal problems from ALRGs, followed by GPs and ORLs. ALRGs were found to prescribe more intranasal corticosteroids than their GP and ALRG colleagues, but GPs prescribed “significantly” more oral antihistamines plus decongestants than ORLs and ALRGs.
Perhaps not surprisingly, researchers found allergists were least likely to misdiagnose nasal symptoms.
Overall, the SNIFF study found that nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis put pressure on physicians in the Bulgarian national healthcare system, mostly due to the various forms and subtypes of allergic rhinitis and their attendant complexity. Although no objective measurements were made in the study, investigators observed that physicians varied in their approaches to treating nasal symptoms.