Allergic fungal sinusitis is a recently described clinical entity that has gained increased attention as a cause of chronic sinusitis is. The diagnosis can be established by demonstrating (1) type I hypersensitivity confirmed by history, skin tests, or serology; (2) nasal polyposis; (3) characteristic CT scan; (4) eosinophilic mucus without fungal invasion into sinus tissue; and (5) positive fungal stain of sinus contents removed intraoperatively or during office endoscopy. The exact pathogenesis of allergic fungal sinusitis remains controversial, and no treatment modality has proved to be consistently effective. Several reports during the last decade have suggested that allergic fungal sinusitis recurs more frequently than chronic bacterial sinusitis, but no studies have specifically addressed the prognosis of allergic fungal sinusitis. During the past two and a half years, we have treated 26 patients with allergic fungal sinusitis. The treatment always included functional endoscopic sinus surgery, topical nasal steroids, postoperative nasal saline irrigations, and endoscopic cleaning in the office. Adjuvant medical therapy included systemic steroids, oral antifungals, a combination of systemic steroids and oral antifungals, or in some cases, no additional treatment. Outcome was graded subjectively as improved, unchanged, or worse. Mean follow-up was 14.5 months. Twenty-two of 26 patients were improved. In reviewing postoperative outcomes, we observed endoscopic recurrent disease that generally preceded patient symptoms. Consequently, we developed an endoscopic staging system to record postoperative clinical status. Use of this staging system allowed evaluation of various treatments and enabled classification of patient outcome. Nineteen of 24 patients examined with extensive follow-up had objective signs of recurrent disease. It appears that this is a chronic disease characterized by physical signs that appear before the return of subjective clinical symptoms.
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