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Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2009 Jul-Aug;23(4):392-5. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2009.23.3355.

Contemporary assessment of the disease burden of sinusitis.

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Division of Otolaryngology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine the disease burden of sinusitis relative to other medical conditions.


The adult sample of the National Health Interview Survey for calendar years 1997 to 2006 was analyzed, extracting 1-year prevalence data for the disease conditions sinusitis, hay fever, peptic ulcer, acute asthma, and chronic bronchitis. Disease burden data for emergency room visits, general and specialist visits, health care spending, and workdays lost were also extracted. The influence of each disease condition on disease burden variables was statistically determined. Comparisons among outcomes variables were conducted across disease conditions to determine their relative economic and health care impacts.


Adult patients were studied (313,982; mean age, 45.2 years). The 1-year disease prevalences were: sinusitis (15.2%), hay fever (8.9%), ulcer (2.4%), acute asthma (3.8%), and chronic bronchitis (4.8%). Patients with sinusitis were significantly more likely to: visit the emergency room (22.7% versus 17.4%, p < 0.001), spend greater than $500/year on health care (55.8% versus 45.0%, p < 0.001), and see a medical specialist (33.6% versus 22.3%, p < 0.001), than those without sinusitis. Patients with sinusitis missed an average of 5.67 workdays per 12 months versus 3.74 workdays for those without (p < 0.001). The number of workdays lost with sinusitis was similar to that of acute asthma (5.79 workdays, p > 0.05), and health care spending with sinusitis was significantly greater than that of ulcer disease, acute asthma, and hay fever (p < 0.004).


Sinusitis imparts a significant disease burden both within and outside of the health care system that is comparable with or exceeds that of other conditions commonly thought to be more serious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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