Biofilm-forming bacteria and quality of life improvement after sinus surgery

Zi Zhang, Nithin D. Adappa, Alexander G. Chiu, Laurel J. Doghramji, Noam A. Cohen, James N. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: It remains unclear how much chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients with bacterial biofilms can benefit from functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). We aimed to evaluate whether biofilm-forming bacteria was associated with quality of life (QOL) improvement after FESS. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included adult CRS patients who underwent FESS from 2008 to 2011. Sinus samples were taken to evaluate for biofilm-formation in vitro using a modified Calgary Biofilm Detection Assay. QOL was measured before FESS, and 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month after FESS using 22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) scores. Patients' characteristics and medications were collected. Clinical significant QOL change was defined as a difference of at least 0.5 standard deviation (SD) of baseline SNOT-22 score in the reference group. Results: A total of 156 patients had complete data, and 15% had biofilm-forming bacteria (n = 24). Patients with biofilm-forming bacteria had significantly worse preoperative SNOT-22 scores compared to patients without biofilm-forming bacteria (48 ± 20 vs 38 ± 23, p = 0.048). Both groups had clinically significant QOL improvement after FESS, and the differences in their 1-month (23 ± 19 vs 17 ± 20) and 3-month (27 ± 18 vs 18 ± 19) post-FESS SNOT-22 scores were not significant. However, patients with biofilm-forming bacteria demonstrated significantly less QOL improvement than patients without biofilm-forming bacteria from pre-FESS to 6-month post-FESS visits after adjusting for clinical factors (35 ± 25 vs 14 ± 15; β-coefficient = 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13 to 1.28; p = 0.016). Conclusion: CRS patients with biofilm-forming bacteria demonstrated clinically significant QOL improvement following FESS, but the degree of improvement was decreased overtime and became significantly worse than patients without biofilm-forming bacteria by 6-month follow-up. This QOL worsening was independent of other risk factors for CRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-649
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Bacteria
  • Biofilm
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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