In this section
Rhinosinusitis is inflammation of the epithelial lining in the paranasal sinuses. It is common in children and is probably under-diagnosed, however it resolves spontaneously in the majority of cases.
There are a number of causes;
This usually follows a viral infection. Mucosal inflammation and thick secretions block the normal sinus drainage resulting in secondary bacterial infection.
Diagnosis in younger children is more difficult as the signs and symptoms are non specific. Persistent nasal discharge (beyond 10 days) is usually the predominant symptom. There are a number of causes of this presentation including sequential URTI's, allergic
rhinitis and adenoidal hypertrophy.
CT is the imaging modality of choice. Air-fluid levels, opacification and mucosal thickening may be seen, however, these findings are non-specific.
CT is not used routinely but may be indicated in the following situations:
Culturing nasal secretions is not indicative of sinus flora and is therefore not helpful. The 'Gold Standard' would be sinus puncture for culture. This is invasive and painful and should only be done in an ENT setting.
The addition of steroid sprays, decongestants, or antihistamines to antibiotic treatment has been shown to have no benefit in sinusitis.
Surgery is very rarely needed.