Otolaryngology shares impactful research

The Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine stays at the cutting edge of medical practice by conducting research related to all its clinical specialties. A small sample of that research, published since the beginning of 2022, is shared below, along with a brief description of why the contribution is important to the field.

Comprehensive ENT

Smell Changes and Efficacy of Nasal Theophylline (SCENT) irrigation: A randomized controlled trial for treatment of post-viral olfactory dysfunction
Lee, JJ, Peterson, AM, Kallogjeri, D, Jiramongkolchai, P, Kukuljan, S, Schneider, JS, Klatt-Cromwell, CN, Drescher, AJ, Brunworth, JD and Piccirillo, JF, Mar 1 2022, In: American Journal of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery. 43, 2, 103299. 

The SCENT trial is important as it demonstrates that the use of intranasal theophylline lavage  is associated with improvement in subjective sense of smell. Unfortunately, the sample size was small and as a result no definitive conclusions can be made. Future trials with larger sample size are required. – Jay Piccirillo, MD

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Nasal Tip Support and Management of the Tip Tripod Complex
Sciegienka, S, Hanick, A and Spataro, E, Jan 2022, In: Clinics in Plastic Surgery. 49, 1, p. 61-70 10 p.

“The concepts associated with the management of the nasal tip for both support/function and appearance are complex and can be difficult to understand.   This article provides an excellent review of the principles and the applicable techniques to manage the nasal tip/tripod complex and ensure adequate nasal support.” – Greg Branham, MD

Head and Neck Surgery

Infection Control With Topical Antimicrobial Prophylaxis for Mucosal Head and Neck Surgery: A Meta-analysis
Lee, JJ, Chibueze, S, Walia, A, Yaeger, LH, Zenga, J, Puram, SV, Jackson, R and Pipkorn, P, 2022, In: Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (United States), In Press. 

“This study from resident physician Dr Jake Lee and attending h&n surgeon Dr Patrik Pipkorn utilized a meta-analysis of 470 h&n patients undergoing major mucosal surgery. Intriguingly, the team found that topical antimicrobial prophylaxis (e.g. oral prep) reduced the risk of surgical site infections by 56%, providing an East and accessible intervention to reduce postoperative infectious complications and their sequelae in this challenging patient population.”—Sid Puram, MD, PhD


Electrocochleography and cognition are important predictors of speech perception outcomes in noise for cochlear implant recipients
Walia, A, Shew, MA, Kallogjeri, D, Wick, CC, Durakovic, N, Lefler, SM, Ortmann, AJ, Herzog, JA and Buchman, CA, Dec 2022, In: Scientific Reports. 12, 1, 3083. 

“Since the advent of cochlear implantation, clinicians have strived to predict outcomes for our patients undergoing this procedure.  While historically, duration of deafness has been the primary predictor of postoperative performance, work by researchers in our division have now identified preoperative cognitive function and cochlear health, as defined by responses from electrocochleography, as the most important tools to predict outcome.  These measures will be very important in counseling patients and their families regarding expectations and rehabilitation planning following implant activation.” – Jacques Herzog, MD

Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery

Nasal inflammatory profile in patients with COVID-19 olfactory dysfunction  

Chang K, Kallogjeri D, Piccirillo J, House SL, Turner J, Schneider J, Farrell NF. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2022 Jul;12(7):952-954. doi: 10.1002/alr.22939. Epub 2022 Jan 10. PMID: 34890110

“Smell loss can be a debilitating condition for many of our patients, and the COVID pandemic has exacerbated this.  Dr. Farrell’s investigation into the pathophysiology of this condition has furthered our understanding of the mechanisms of smell loss.  As we look for more targeted therapies in Rhinology, studies like this provide tremendous guidance.” – John Schneider, MD

Basic and Applied Sciences

Cisplatin exposure acutely disrupts mitochondrial bioenergetics in the zebrafish lateral-line organ
Lee, DS, Schrader, A, Warchol, M and Sheets, L, 2022, In: Hearing Research, In Press.

“Cisplatin is a widely-used and effective antitumor drug that also causes permanent hearing loss in a large percentage of treated patients.  This study used larval zebrafish to demonstrate the generation of reactive oxygen species or free radicals in sensory cells shortly after exposure to cisplatin.  Mitochondria, which are responsible for energy production within cells, were also affected by cisplatin.  Determination of how cisplatin kills the sensory cells of the inner ear may lead to methods for preventing cisplatin-induced hearing loss.”—Mark Warchol, PhD