Nasal polyps are often seen in ENT practice, but little is known about the pathogenesis and the natural development. Our objective was to follow individuals with untreated nasal polyps prospectively, in terms of polyp size, symptoms, and respiratory function.Methods:
Thirty-three individuals, aged 27 to 87 years, with untreated nasal polyps were identified in a population-based study. Peak nasal inspiratory flow, olfactory function, and size of the nasal polyps were examined. Respiratory symptoms were also registered. Follow-up examinations were performed after 6 and 13 years, with change between visits analyzed.Results:
Over time, polyp size as well as occurrence of unilateral or bilateral polyps varied without an obvious pattern, with no consistent trends in respiratory function or symptoms. Twenty-one individuals (64%) were still untreated at the 6-year follow-up, and 12 (36%) remained untreated during the whole 13-year follow-up. Dropouts were due mainly to death. Seven individuals (21%) started treatment during the follow-up and had larger polyps and more subjective respiratory symptoms at baseline compared to the untreated group.Conclusion:
Nasal polyps found occasionally are often part of a chronic entity but do not necessarily evolve into a more serious condition over time. Treatment should therefore be based on the patients’ subjective problems.