Current Understanding of the Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019 Dec 4:9:415. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00415. eCollection 2019.


Background: Acute exacerbations of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) have been increasingly recognized as an important disease entity with a significant impact on the quality of life. There is a growing amount of research on the etiopathogenesis and management of acute exacerbations of CRS. This review aims to summarize the current literature and provide an overall understanding of acute CRS exacerbations. Methods: A related literature review with the key terms of "chronic rhinosinusitis" and "exacerbation" was performed using PubMed. Results: There is no consensus definition of the acute exacerbation of CRS. Impaired mucociliary clearance, atrophic rhinitis, and immunologic changes are important predisposing factors for acute CRS exacerbations. Current evidence supports the role of the transient viral infection as the initial inflammatory stimulus in the pathogenesis of acute CRS exacerbations. Secondary bacterial infection or microbial community dysbiosis within the sinonasal cavity is the main event during the acute exacerbation of CRS. Distinct changes in local and systemic immune responses during exacerbation provide new insights into the pathophysiology of CRS exacerbation. Although current guidelines suggest the use of short-term antibiotics in patients with acute CRS exacerbation for symptomatic relief, evidence-based treatment recommendations for acute CRS exacerbation are still lacking, and large-high-quality RCTs are required. Conclusion: There have been significant advances in understanding the etiology and immunological feathers of acute CRS exacerbation. Nevertheless, consensus definition, diagnostic criterion, biomarkers to differentiate acute CRS exacerbation from CRS, assessment of disease severity, and evidence-based treatment options for acute CRS exacerbation are still lacking.

Keywords: Chronic rhinosinusitis; acute exacerbations; bacteria; etiology; treatment; virus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Rhinitis / diagnosis*
  • Rhinitis / etiology*
  • Rhinitis / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sinusitis / diagnosis*
  • Sinusitis / etiology*
  • Sinusitis / therapy