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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is sinusitis diagnosed?

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  • 2


    A/Prof Larry Kalish

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    Sinusitis means inflammation of the paranasal sinuses (cavities surrounding the nose, in your cheeks, between and above your eyes). The diagnosis is made if the patient has 2 or more of the following symptoms
     1. nasal obstruction (blocked nose)
     2. purulent rhinorrhea (nasal discharge which is yellow or green)
     3. purulent postnasl discharge (discolored discharge running down the back of your nose)
     4. hyposmia (poor sense of smell)
     5. facial congestion (pressure over cheeks, around eyes or above eyes)
     6. facial pain (pain over cheeks, around eyes or above eyes)

    AS WELL as having EITHER

     1. clinical evidence of an infection
           eg  discolored discharge arising from the sinuses (middle or superior meatus, ethmoid bulla)
                oedema (swelling) or erythema (redness) of the sinuses
                nasal polyps

    2. radiological evidence of an infection
          eg a CT scan of the sinuses showing mucosal thickening

    Just having the symptoms alone does not mean sinusitis, one needs to have a CT scan or clinical examination to confirm the diagnosis. Some patients can have a normal clinical examination but sinusitis on a CT scan others can have clinical findings but normal CT scan, as long as one of these 2 signs are present together with the symtoms the patient is diagnosed with sinusitis.

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