Nasal obstruction is a subjective complaint in patients with nasal disease. The ability to quantitate the nasal ventilation dysfunction would be useful for making the appropriate choice of nasal disease management. This cross-sectional study comprised of 200 adult subjects. They underwent assessment of relevant symptoms, nasal examination and investigations before undergoing active anterior rhinomanometry (AAR) assessment. A group of 88 normal subjects and 112 patients with nasal disease were included. The mean total nasal air resistance (NAR) was significantly higher in patients with nasal disease (0.33 Pa/cm(3)/s) as compared to normal subjects (0.24 Pa/cm(3)/s). There was no significant difference in total NAR between patients with symptoms of nasal obstruction and those without the symptoms (p = 0.42). It is concluded that AAR is a sensitive but not a specific tool for the detection of abnormalities in NAR and it failed to relate to the symptom of nasal obstruction.