Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a common disease, estimated to occur in 12-16% of the United States population. This prevalence creates a significant health burden with an estimated 15 million ambulatory visits for the condition annually. Consequently, practice guidelines have been designed to assist both the primary care provider and specialist in establishing a CRS diagnosis and prescribing effective treatment for CRS. The guidelines for CRS diagnosis have evolved since the United States Rhinosinusitis Task Force first published its symptom-based guidelines in 1997. Contemporary practice guidelines still require 12 weeks of appropriate symptoms, but now include corroboration of objective sinonasal inflammation demonstrated on physical exam, imaging, or endoscopy to arrive at a CRS diagnosis. While these diagnostic criteria are seemingly straightforward and are regarded as the gold standard for the diagnosis, the appropriate timing of imaging and endoscopy remain unspecified and continue to present challenges for both primary care and specialty providers. These considerations have to be measured by the direct and indirect costs of the diagnostic workup including office visits, CT scanning, endoscopy, as well as the potential for overuse of treatment modalities such as antibiotics and steroid medications. The goal of this review is to update the primary care provider and otolaryngologist on current evidence regarding the diagnosis and treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis, including the costs and timing of endoscopy and imaging.
Keywords: Chronic Rhinosinusitis; Cost Efficient; Diagnosis; Endoscopy; Imaging; Treatment.