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Impaired mucociliary clearance in allergic rhinitis patients is related to a predisposition to rhinosinusitis

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April 1, 2009
by Ioannis Vlastos, MD, Ioannis Athanasopoulos, MD, PhD, Nicholas S. Mastronikolis, MD, PhD, Theodora Panogeorgou, MD, Vassilios Margaritis, MD, Stefanos Naxakis, MD, PhD, and Panos D. Goumas, MD


Although mucociliary clearance has been shown to be impaired in patients with allergic rhinitis and chronic rhinosinusitis, its exact role in relation to a predisposition to rhinosinusitis is unknown. To investigate this possible association, we conducted a prospective study of 125 patients with allergic rhinitis. Of this group, 23 patients were classified as being sinusitis-prone based on their history of antibiotic consumption for the treatment of rhinosinusitis; the remaining 102 patients were deemed to be not sinusitis-prone. The saccharine test was used to evaluate mucociliary clearance in all patients. Several variables-age, sex, smoking habits, rhinitis severity, and medication history-were examined. We found that the sinusitis-prone patients had a significantly greater mucociliary clearance time than did those who were not prone (median: 15 and 12 min, respectively; p = 0.02). No other statistically significant differences were seen between the 2 groups with respect to any other variables that might have affected mucociliary clearance. We conclude that impaired mucociliary clearance in allergic rhinitis patients is associated with a predisposition to rhinosinusitis.

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