Prevalence, severity, and risk factors for acute exacerbations of nasal and sinus symptoms by chronic rhinosinusitis status

J. R. Kuiper, A. G. Hirsch, K. Bandeen-Roche, A. S. Sundaresan, B. K. Tan, R. P. Schleimer, R. C. Kern, W. F. Stewart, B. S. Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Nasal and sinus symptoms (NSS) are common to many health conditions, including chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Few studies have investigated the occurrence and severity of, and risk factors for, acute exacerbations of NSS (AENSS) by CRS status (current, past, or never met European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis [EPOS] criteria for CRS). Methods: Four seasonal questionnaires were mailed to a stratified random sample of Geisinger primary care patients. Logistic regression was used to identify individual characteristics associated with AENSS occurrence and severity by CRS status (current long-term, current recent, past, never) using EPOS subjective symptoms-only (EPOSS) CRS criteria. We operationalized 3 AENSS definitions based on prescribed antibiotics or oral corticosteroids, symptoms, and symptoms with purulence. Results: Baseline and at least 1 follow-up questionnaires were available from 4736 subjects. Self-reported NSS severity with exacerbation was worst in the current long-term CRS group. AENSS was common in all subgroups examined and generally more common among those with current EPOSS CRS. Seasonal prevalence of AENSS differed by AENSS definition and CRS status. Associations of risk factors with AENSS differed by definition, but CRS status, body mass index, asthma, hay fever, sinus surgery history, and winter season consistently predicted AENSS. Conclusions: In this first longitudinal, population-based study of 3 AENSS definitions, NSS and AENSS were both common, sometimes severe, and differed by EPOSS CRS status. Contrasting associations of risk factors for AENSS by the different definitions suggest a need for a standardized approach to definition of AENSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1244-1253
Number of pages10
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • epidemiology
  • exacerbation
  • longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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