Making Life Better for Chronic Sinus Infection Patients

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery may improve quality of life for chronic rhinosinusitis and obstructive sleep apnea patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Chronic sinus infections can lead to sleep problems and poor quality of life, but there may be some hope on the horizon.

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland found that undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may improve quality of life for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

"Patients with OSA should be treated concurrently for both CRS and OSA to optimize sleep dysfunction and [quality of life] improvement," wrote lead study author Timothy L. Smith, MD, MPH, an otolaryngologist at OHSU, and colleagues.

CRS is a condition in which the sinuses surrounding the nasal passage become inflamed or swollen for at least 12 weeks, despite treatment attempts. This condition interferes with drainage and can cause mucus to build up, making it hard to breathe through the nose. CRS can disrupt the sleep cycle if a patient wakes frequently due to nasal obstruction or pain.

OSA is a condition in which the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. During an OSA episode, the body has to work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Breathing typically resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with the sleep cycle and reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs.

CRS plus OSA is a double whammy and, over time, can cause severe sleep deprivation.

Dr. Smith and team looked at the quality of life of 405 patients by asking questions about sleep pattern, emotions, pain and other symptoms. All patients had CRS. Sixty patients also had OSA.

All patients underwent an FESS to improve drainage in the sinus cavity. They were followed for an average of 14 months.

After surgery, all patients reported improved quality of life.

Those without OSA reported improved sleep quality compared to those with OSA.

This study was published Sept. 10 in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) funded this research. Several authors disclosed financial support from the NIDCD.

Review Date: 
September 8, 2015
Last Updated:
September 18, 2015