Study Provides Breakthrough in Diagnosis of Chronic Sinonasal Disease

(November 20, 2009)

A new study conducted by the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) has identified a simple, five-item questionnaire, based on the frequency of nasal symptoms, to accurately screen for sinonasal disease.  Sinonasal disease is a combination of chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinitis. Until recently, diagnosis of this disease was difficult and expensive, because an effective screening instrument did not exist.

 "For years physicians have relied on costly and inconvenient CT scans or endoscopy to diagnose sinonasal disease," said Norman H. Edelman, MD, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer.  "The ACRC's discovery of this simple, yet reliable, tool is a critical advancement in diagnosing this chronic disease in patients with sinus symptoms.  There is much less risk involved with this new screening tool that can now be used as the first step in diagnosing sinonasal disease."

Patients participating in the American Lung Association's ACRC study were evaluated for chronic sinonasal disease using this five-item questionnaire, which proved more sensitive and specific than sinus CT scans and nasal endoscopy.

The results of this study were published as the Editor's Choice Article in the November issue of Chest: The Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care Journal. NIH has also granted the American Lung Association's ACRC with additional funding to further study patients with sinonasal disease and asthma to test the efficacy of Nasonex with asthma management.

"This additional research is important because it will allow us to determine if treating sinonasal disease in patients with asthma also affects their asthma management," said Anne E. Dixon, MD, FCCP.  "This research, which begins this spring and will conclude in 2014, may provide a breakthrough in asthma management for the more than 23 million Americans with asthma."  

The ACRC Network is an American Lung Association sponsored research program that conducts large scale clinical trials with the mission of advancing the care and treatment of people with asthma. The network, with a central data coordinating center and 18 clinical centers located across the country, is the largest of its kind. By placing its clinical centers around the country, the ACRC Network is able to enroll large numbers of patients for clinical trials, thus ensuring relevant research findings can be interpreted with the highest level of scientific authority.