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Chronic rhinosinusitis and bacterial biofilms.

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Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-9200, USA.



Recently, there has been increased interest in bacterial biofilms as a major factor in chronic infections. Chronic rhinosinusitis is one of the most common chronic infections seen by physicians. The purpose of this review is to summarize the literature available on chronic rhinosinusitis and biofilms.


Only very few articles are available about the relationship between biofilms and chronic rhinosinusitis. Three separate authors reported on finding biofilms in samples obtained from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. One article demonstrated biofilms on samples obtained from animals that were inoculated with bacteria. The major breakthrough was noted when the majority of samples from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis had biofilms in them but none were found on similar samples obtained on controls.


Even though only a few reports are available about the role of biofilms and chronic rhinosinusitis, the evidence seems to be convincing that such a role exists. We still have a long way to go, however, before we know the exact relationship of biofilms and chronic rhinosinusitis. Why do some patients form biofilms, what triggers biofilm formation and how can we prevent them from forming are questions that need to be answered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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