Relationships between severity of chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis, asthma, and atopy

Am J Rhinol Allergy. Mar-Apr 2009;23(2):145-8. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2009.23.3284.


Background: The effect of comorbid conditions such as asthma and atopy on the severity of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and the presence of nasal polyps (NPs) remains an area of investigation. We sought to elucidate the relationship among these entities.

Methods: The study population included 106 consecutive patients who were referred to a multidisciplinary, university-based allergy and sinus clinic that underwent computed tomography (CT) scan, skin-prick testing, and had CRS. Data were analyzed to determine Lund-MacKay score (LMS), presence of NPs, asthma status, and sensitivity to seven classes of aeroallergens.

Results: Skin tests were positive in 52 cases and negative in 54 cases. Although, there was no statistical relationship between LMS and atopic status in the entire group, among the asthmatic subgroup, mean LMS was greater in nonatopic asthmatic patients than in atopic asthmatic patients. Asthmatic patients had a higher LMS than nonasthmatic patients (p < 0.0001). Asthmatic patients were more likely than nonasthmatic patients to have NPs (57.6% versus 25%; p = 0.0015), regardless of atopic status. Mean LMS was higher in NP patients compared with nonpolyp patients (p < 0.0001), independent of atopic status. Mean LMS was not affected by sensitivity to any particular allergen, with the exception of cockroach-allergic patients who were more likely to have an LMS of >10 (p = 0.0236) and had more severe maxillary sinus involvement (p = 0.0391).

Conclusion: These data indicate a strong relationship between CRS severity, as measured by LMS, and chronic airway inflammatory diseases, asthma, and NPs. The association between LMS and atopic status appears weak. The present study suggests that CRS is an inflammatory disease that occurs independently of systemic IgE-mediated pathways.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cockroaches
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Insect Proteins / immunology*
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Rhinitis / complications
  • Rhinitis / pathology
  • Rhinitis / physiopathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sinusitis / complications
  • Sinusitis / pathology
  • Sinusitis / physiopathology*
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Biomarkers
  • Insect Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E