Intranasal trigeminal sensitivity to mechanical stimuli is associated with the perception of nasal patency

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Purpose: The aim of this prospective study was to examine the characteristics of a clinical test for the assessment of nasal trigeminal sensitivity to mechanical stimuli and its association with the perception of nasal patency. Methods: Thirty-two normosmic healthy subjects participated (17 women and 15 men; age = 26 ± 3 years). Precisely defined air puffs were used with a flow rate of 2L/min for mechanical stimulation. They were presented to the nasal vestibule, nasal septum, and inferior turbinate with various stimulus durations. Thresholds were measured by single-staircase stimuli with changes in stimulus duration in steps of 10 ms. Trigeminal suprathreshold intensity was rated by subjects for stimulus durations of 200, 300, 400, and 500 ms. Test–retest reliability was examined by intraclass correlations (ICCs) and Bland–Altman plot with limits of agreement. Pearson’s correlations were calculated between self-rated nasal patency and nasal trigeminal sensitivity. Results: As indicated by trigeminal threshold and suprathreshold intensities, the nasal vestibule is the most sensitive area among the three locations, followed by the nasal septum and the inferior turbinate (p < 0.001). Coefficients of correlations between test and retest were 0.76 for thresholds, and 0.56 suprathreshold intensities (p < 0.001). The Bland–Altman analysis showed a good agreement between test–retest values. In addition, significant positive associations between trigeminal suprathreshold intensities and self-rated nasal obstruction were found at the inferior turbinate (r = 0.4, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Reliable assessment of nasal trigeminal sensitivity for air puffs appears to be possible. Nasal trigeminal suprathreshold sensitivity to mechanical stimuli is associated with the perception of nasal patency at the inferior turbinate. This opens a window into the assessment of the perception of nasal airflow in various clinical purposes, especially for patients with sinonasal diseases. Level of evidence: 3.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5391-5399
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean archives of oto-rhino-laryngology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

External IDs

PubMed 37561188
ORCID /0000-0001-7650-1731/work/146644574
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/146645754


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Air puffs, Intranasal trigeminal sensitivity, Mechanical stimuli, Nasal patency, Reproducibility of Results, Prospective Studies, Nasal Septum, Humans, Nasal Obstruction/diagnosis, Perception/physiology, Male, Nasal Cavity/physiology, Trigeminal Nerve/physiology, Young Adult, Female, Adult