Cross-sectional Analysis of the Relationship between Paranasal Sinus Balloon Catheter Dilations and Industry Payments among Otolaryngologists

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To characterize the relationship between industry payments and use of paranasal sinus balloon catheter dilations (BCDs) for chronic rhinosinusitis.

Study Design

Cross-sectional analysis of Medicare B Public Use Files and Open Payments data.


Two national databases, 2013 to 2014.

Subjects and Methods

Physicians with Medicare claims with Current Procedural Terminology codes 31295 to 31297 were identified and cross-referenced with industry payments. Multivariate linear regression controlling for age, race, sex, and comorbidity in a physician’s Medicare population was performed to identify associations between use of BCDs and industry payments. The final analysis included 334 physicians performing 31,506 procedures, each of whom performed at least 11 balloon dilation procedures.


Of 334 physicians, 280 (83.8%) received 4392 industry payments in total. Wide variation in payments to physicians was noted (range, $43.29-$111,685.10). The median payment for food and beverage was $19.26 and that for speaker or consulting fees was $409.45. One payment was associated with an additional 3.05 BCDs (confidence interval [95% CI],1.65-4.45; P < .001). One payment for food and beverages was associated with 3.81 additional BCDs (95% CI, 2.13-5.49; P < .001), and 1 payment for speaker or consulting fees was associated with 5.49 additional BCDs (95% CI, 0.32-10.63; P = .04).


Payments by manufacturers of BCD devices were associated with increased use of BCD for chronic rhinosinusitis. On separate analyses, the number of payments for food and beverages as well as that for speaker and consulting fees was associated with increased BCD use. This study was cross-sectional and cannot prove causality, and several factors likely exist for the uptrend in BCD use.

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