Environmental fungi are etiologically related to chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with airway mycosis, but their infectious role remains uncertain, in part because of potentially inadequate methods of disease quantitation. Our objective was to determine objective radiographic and symptomatic outcomes of oral antifungal therapy in adult patients with CRS and airway mycosis by using computer-assisted analysis. We conducted a retrospective study of 65 patients with CRS and culture-proven airway mycosis in a single-center referral-based academic practice, comparing paired sinus computed tomography (CT) scans and symptom scores prior to and during chronic oral antifungal therapy using computer-assisted analysis of sino-mucosal area (CAASMA). A comparator group received standard therapy without antifungals. Administration of antifungals was associated with significantly reduced sinus mucosal thickening as assessed by CAASMA (-6.85% absolute reduction; 95% confidence interval [CI], -11.8283 to -1.8717; P < 0.005), but not by Lund-Mackay score. In contrast, standard care alone was linked by CAASMA to enhanced mucosal thickening (4.14% absolute increase; 95% CI, -1.8066 to 10.0866; P < 0.005). Thirty of the 41 antifungal-treated patients (73%) showed decreased sinus mucosal burdens, while only 21 patients (43%) receiving standard therapy showed improved imaging (odds ratio [OR], 11.65; 95% CI, 3.2 to 42.2; P < 0.05). Nineteen patients (50%) noted improved symptoms at the time of a follow-up CT scan, while only 8 patients (20%) on standard therapy improved (OR, 6.21; 95% CI, 1.7 to 22.7; P < 0.05). These retrospective findings indicate that oral antifungals can reduce mucosal thickening and improve symptoms in CRS with airway mycosis. Randomized clinical trials are warranted to verify these findings.
Keywords: Lund-Mackay score; airway mycosis; antifungal agents; chronic rhinosinusitis.