Prevalence of chronic sinusitis may be lower than commonly reported

03/11/04

CHICAGO – The prevalence of chronic sinusitis may be much lower than previously estimated and reported, according to an article in the March issue of The Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Chronic sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses that lasts for more than 90 days, and often longer. According to background information in the article, "Commonly cited estimates from the National Health Interview Survey rank chronic sinusitis as one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States. These data rely on patient self-reporting of the disease. However, chronic sinusitis is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms overlap those of many other disease processes. As such, these prevalence data may be unreliable."

Ron G. Shashy, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues identified all 2,405 residents of Olmstead County, Minnesota, who were assigned a coded diagnosis for chronic sinusitis in the year 2000 using database information. The researchers found that the overall age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of chronic sinusitis was 1,955 per 100,000 of the population, or 1.96 percent.

"In conclusion, current prevalence estimates of chronic sinusitis that rely on patient reporting may be exaggerated," the authors write. "Chronic sinusitis has been reported to affect 14 percent to 16 percent of the U.S. population according to a National Health Interview Survey. In Olmstead County, where 95 percent of the medical care is provided by two providers [Mayo Clinic and Olmstead Medical Center] and records of all encounters are indexed in a database, we found a much lower prevalence (2 percent) of the chronic sinusitis diagnosis in the year 2000 using ICD-9 codes [medical codes] as an identifier," the researchers write.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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