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Pediatrics. 2013 Jul;132(1):e284-96.

Evidence for the diagnosis and treatment of acute uncomplicated sinusitis in children: a systematic review.


In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics published clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children. The technical report accompanying those guidelines included 21 studies that assessed the diagnosis and management of ABS in children. This update to that report incorporates studies of pediatric ABS that have been performed since 2001. Overall, 17 randomized controlled trials of the treatment of sinusitis in children were identified and analyzed. Four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antimicrobial therapy have been published. The results of these studies varied, likely due to differences in inclusion and exclusion criteria. Because of this heterogeneity, formal meta-analyses were not performed. However, qualitative analysis of these studies suggests that children with greater severity of illness at presentation are more likely to benefit from antimicrobial therapy. An additional 5 trials compared different antimicrobial therapies but did not include placebo groups. Six trials assessed a variety of ancillary treatments for ABS in children,and 3 focused on subacute sinusitis. Although the number of pediatric trials has increased since 2001, there are still limited data to guide the diagnosis and management of ABS in children. Diagnostic and treatment guidelines focusing on severity of illness at the time of presentation have the potential to identify those children most likely to benefit from antimicrobial therapy and at the same time minimize unnecessary use of antibiotics.

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