This story reports on a study that found clinically significant improvements in the quality of life of patients who had endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. Although the story did a nice job of explaining the methods of the study, it would have been helpful for the reader to have more information on what improvements in quality of life really mean for someone with chronic sinusitis. This story could also have been improved by mentioning potential harms and costs of surgery.
Declaring that a treatment can result in a clinically significant improvement on your quality of life sounds good, but more clarity about what these improvements really mean (e.g., better ability to breathe through the nose, improves sleep, etc.) would make the results more meaningful.
Although the study authors did not report adverse effects of endoscopic sinus surgery, the news story should have mentioned that complications can include bleeding, bruising, swelling and infection. Rare cases of vision problems, spinal fluid leaks and meningitis have also been reported. If you don’t report harms and you don’t report costs, you’re not telling a very complete story.
We think the story should have included even a brief line about how observational studies, like this one, are not considered the highest quality of evidence. That, and the failure to define what "clinically significant improvement" really means results in an unsatisfactory score on this criterion.
This story provides data showing how many people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with chronic rhinosinusitis.
Although the story mentions that medical therapy can be an effective alternative to surgery, more information on the specific medications, including nasal steroids, oral decongestants and antihistamines, would have helped readers.
The story explains that endoscopic sinus surgery has been used for a long time and the reader can infer that it’s been in widespread use.
We can’t be sure of the extent to which the story relied on a news release, so we grade this criterion Not Applicable.