Septal Perforation 5

Take a history from this 48 year old lady with a septal perforation. She has recently started chemotherapy.


  • Onset

  • Duration 

  • Associated symptoms – whistling, nasal obstruction, crusting, epistaxis, saddle deformity, hyposmia/anosmia, phantosmia, parosmia, headaches

  • Predisposing events – Nasal trauma, septoplasty/rhinoplasty, exposure to chemical irritants, septal haematoma/abscess, nasal cautery

  • Constitutional symptoms – weight loss, malaise, anorexia, night sweats

  • Past Medical History – granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), syphilis, sarcoidosis, lupus, nasal foreign body, leprosy

  • Drug History – nasal steroids,bevacizumab (avastin), cocaine abuse

  • Social History – smoking, alcohol, occupation

  • Family History – cancer, above listed medical conditions

  • Systems review

  • Elicit the patient’s ideas, concerns and expectations 


  • Summarise consultation

  • Thank patient

  • Offer appropriate differential diagnosis

Differential diagnoses to consider*


  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

  • Sarcoidosis


  • Syphilis 

  • Septal abscess


  • Primary nasal tumour


  • Cocaine abuse

  • Bevacizumab


  • Nasal trauma

  • Nose picking

  • Excessive nasal cautery

  • Septal haematoma

*Table not exhaustive


You will be asked to suggest an appropriate management plan based on your presumed diagnosis. Ensure that you offer a complete ENT examination including nasendoscopy prior to further investigations.

Further investigations will depend on the history and your examination findings. As a baseline, offer to check full blood count, urea and electrolytes and ESR. Some examples are below:-

Suspected diagnosis

The following investigations/management strategies may be indicated however you must offer based on the clinical scenario you are given


ANCA, chest x-ray, urine dip


Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)


Venereal Disease Research Laboratory – VDRL

Nasal tumour


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