Decision aid and preference assessment of topical anesthesia for otolaryngology procedures

Elliana K. DeVore, Stacey T. Gray, Molly N. Huston, Phillip C. Song, Blake C. Alkire, Matthew R. Naunheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine preference patterns for topical anesthesia in patients undergoing endoscopy pre-coronavirus (2019 coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) pandemic and analyze outcomes based on preference, using a decision aid format. Methods: A decision aid was developed with expert and patient input. New patients presenting to subspecialty clinics over a 2-month pre-COVID-19 period completed a pre-procedure survey about their priorities, then were asked to choose between topical oxymetazoline/lidocaine spray or none. A post-procedure outcome survey followed. Results: Of 151 patients, 90.1% patients elected to have topical anesthesia. Top patient priorities were “I want the scope to be easy for the doctor” and “I want to be as comfortable as possible.” Patients who strongly wanted to avoid medication (P =.002) and bad taste (P =.003) were more likely to select no spray, whereas those who wanted to avoid pain received anesthetic (P =.011). According to the post-procedure assessment, 95.4% of patients were satisfied or strongly satisfied their choice, and this did not correlate with anesthetic vs none. Conclusions: Patient preferences are easily elicited and correlate with treatment choices. Most patients chose to have topical anesthetic and were willing to tolerate side effects; however, both patients with and without topical anesthetic were satisfied with their choices. This decision aid can be used to optimize shared decision making in the otolaryngology clinic. Given the aerosolizing potential of both spray and no spray conditions, this insight may be consequential when devising office protocols for post-COVID-19 practice. Level of evidence: II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-799
Number of pages6
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • anesthetics
  • coronavirus
  • decision making
  • local
  • patient preference
  • shared
  • surveys and questionnaires


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