Cognitive dysfunction associated with pain and quality of life in chronic rhinosinusitis

George S. Tarasidis, Adam S. Deconde, Jess C. Mace, Shaelene Ashby, Timothy L. Smith, Richard R. Orlandi, Jeremiah A. Alt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Cognitive dysfunction and its relationship to both pain and disease-specific quality of life (QOL) in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) have not been investigated previously. We sought to analyze the correlations of pain and disease-specific QOL with cognitive function in CRS. Methods: Adults with CRS were prospectively enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Participants' cognitive function was assessed using the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire. Pain was characterized using the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) and the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form. Disease-specific QOL was ascertained using the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index (RSDI) and 22-item Sinonasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22). Disease severity was assessed using nasal endoscopy and computed tomography. Bivariate correlations of pain and cognitive dysfunction, disease-specific QOL, and clinical measures of disease severity were ascertained. Results: In patients with CRS (n = 70) there was a significant correlation between cognitive dysfunction and pain severity scores (Spearman's correlation [Rs] = 0.321, p < 0.01). A similar correlation was identified with pain interference (Rs = 0.317, p < 0.01) and cognitive dysfunction scores. This is mirrored by a significant correlation between another measure of pain severity, the SF-MPQ and cognitive dysfunction (Rs = 0.498, p < 0.01). In patients with CRS there was a significant correlation between disease-specific QOL scores and cognitive function scores as measured by the SNOT-22 (Rs = 0.395, p < 0.01) and the RSDI (Rs = 0.528, p < 0.01). Conclusion: In patients with CRS, increasing pain and worse QOL are associated with cognitive dysfunction. Possible mechanisms for this cognitive dysfunction include differential neural activation secondary to chronic pain and/or the sequela of a chronic inflammatory state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1004-1009
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Chronic disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Cognition
  • Quality of life
  • Rhinitis
  • Rhinosinusitis
  • Sinusitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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