Mucociliary clearance abnormalities in the HIV-infected patient: a precursor to acute sinusitis

Laryngoscope. 1995 Nov;105(11):1202-8. doi: 10.1288/00005537-199511000-00012.


An increasing number of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) suffer from acute infectious sinusitis, and many suffer recurrent episodes at a higher rate than their non-HIV counterparts. This study investigates a mechanism underlying the increased incidence of sinusitis, that of prolonged mucociliary transport time (MTT). Nasal mucociliary clearance was examined in 30 HIV-infected patients and 30 matched, non-HIV controls using a nasal saccharin transport test. MTTs for the study group and the controls were 11.9 +/- 5.9 minutes and 7.4 +/- 3.7 minutes, respectively. This difference attained statistical significance (P < .05). Study group patients with a history of sinusitis had a mean MTT of 13.7 +/- 6.8 minutes. Those with complaints of "new onset" nasal obstruction since HIV conversion had a mean MTT of 13.5 +/- 6.8 minutes. Statistical significance (P < .05) was found comparing these times to controls, as well as to study patients without these symptoms. These data support an inherent delay of mucociliary clearance in HIV-infected patients which is chronic, possibly irreversible, and, in association with nasal obstruction, represents a major mechanism of both the high acute and recurrent sinusitis rate in this population. The cause of the mucociliary delay is still unclear and needs to be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucociliary Clearance*
  • Nasal Obstruction / etiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sinusitis / etiology*
  • Time Factors