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J Asthma Allergy. 2012;5:27-32. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S31874. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Sinusitis and chronic cough in children.

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University of Nevada School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonology, Reno, NV, USA.



Chronic cough in children is a common problem, and sinusitis is a common etiology. The diagnosis of sinusitis is often clinical, but confirmation is thought to require a CT scan due to the difficulty of interpreting a Water's view sinus X-ray.


The purposes of the study were (1) to examine the frequency of an abnormal sinus X-ray in children with a chronic cough of more than 4 weeks duration; (2) to compare the interpretation of the sinus film between allergy/pulmonary clinicians and radiologists; and (3) to correlate symptoms with X-ray results.


A chart review of 2- to 18-year-old patients with coughing exceeding 4 weeks was performed. Data was collected for patients who had received a Water's view sinus film as part of their evaluation. Exam, X-ray results, and clinical outcomes were categorized and statistical analyses performed.


A total of 86 patients were included. Clinicians found that 65% of the children had positive Water's view films, compared with the radiologist's reading of 62% (non significant). Significant associations between post-tussive emesis (P = 0.01) and purulence (P = 0.03) were noted with a positive film. Positive sinus X-ray was highly associated with all findings except wheeze when present together (P < 0.001).


Sinus abnormalities on X-ray are associated with prolonged cough in 65% of children. The Water's view sinus film is a clinically useful screening tool for clinicians in the workup of chronic cough. Certain physical findings and clinical complaints, when present concurrently, correlate with the X-ray results.


Water’s view sinus X-ray; allergic rhinitis; asthma; post-tussive emesis; radiologist; wheezing

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