Definitions and Epidemiology

Sinusitis is a clinical condition characterized by mucosal inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Acute bacterial sinusitis is a rapid-onset infection that most commonly develops following a viral upper respiratory infection. it is defined by symptom duration of less than 1 mo and most commonly affects the maxillary sinuses. Recurrent acute siinusitis is defined by episodes of bacterial infection of the paranasal sinuses, each lasting less than 30 d and separated by intervals of at least 10 d, during which the patient is asymptomactic. Subacute sinusitis, with symptoms present between 1 and 3 mo, usually occurs when an acute episode of bacterial sinusitis has not been adequately treated. Sinusitis is diagnosed as chronic when mucosal disease and attendant symptoms have been present for at least 3 mo.

From: Current Clinical Practice: Allergic Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment, Third Edition Edited by: P. Lieberman and J. A. Anderson © Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

Sinus disease is one of the most frequently encountered problems evaluated by primary care physicians. It has been estimated that 0.5% of viral upper respiratory infections result in acute bacterial sinusitis. Similarly, chronic sinusitis is also a very common condition and has been estimated to afflict at least 31 million people in the United States.

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