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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1989 Dec;153(6):1259-64.

Comparison of plain radiographs and coronal CT scans in infants and children with recurrent sinusitis.

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  • 1Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.


We performed a prospective study of 70 infants and children with recurrent sinusitis. We compared plain radiographs with coronal CT scans of the sinuses to determine if plain radiographs can be used to accurately diagnose and localize residual sinus disease amenable to endoscopic surgery. This residual disease is thought to be important in the pathogenesis of recurrences of sinusitis. The patients were taking antibiotics and were clinically well at the time of the two examinations (performed on the same day). Findings on slightly over 80% of the CT scans were abnormal. In about 75% of the patients, the findings on plain radiographs did not correlate with those on CT scans. About 45% of the patients had normal findings on plain radiographs of at least one sinus with an abnormality of that sinus shown on CT scans. Almost 35% of the patients had what was interpreted as an abnormality of at least one sinus on plain radiographs, but that sinus was normal on CT scans. Sinusitis in infants and children is often underdiagnosed or overdiagnosed on the basis of findings on plain radiographs of the sinuses. Plain radiographs cannot be used to determine the need for, or to guide, endoscopic surgery on the sinuses.

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