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25 February 2011

Isolated sphenoid sinus pathologies – the problem of delayed diagnosis

Andrzej SieskiewiczABCDEF, Tomasz LysonABCDEF, Ewa OlszewskaABCDE, Magdalena ChlabiczABCDE, Simona BuonamassaADE, Marek RogowskiADEF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881454

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(3): CR180-184

Abstract

Background: Isolated sphenoid sinus pathologies are relatively rare. In the majority of cases, symptoms do not arise in the early stages of the disease or are non-specific, therefore making diagnosis difficult. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic process and the reasons for development of complications in patients with isolated sphenoid sinus pathology.
Material/Methods: The clinical data and observation charts of 32 patients were investigated to determine how long the main symptoms of sphenoid pathology had been present before the patients were referred for medical treatment, and the time that elapsed from the first ambulatory medical assessment to the initial diagnosis.
Results: Complaints and symptoms of sphenoid sinus pathology had been present for 10.2 months before the diagnosis was established. Although the duration of complaints in “ORL” (diagnosed by otorhinolaryngologist) and “non-ORL” (diagnosed by other specialists) group of patients was similar (10.8 and 9.5 months on average, respectively), unexpectedly, in the “non-ORL” group of patients, the time necessary for making the initial diagnosis was actually shorter than in the “ORL” group (1.8 vs 4.1 months). At the time of hospital admission, endoscopic examination revealed no abnormalities in 31.2% of patients. In 28.1% of patients the pathological process in the sphenoid sinus was diagnosed only after the onset of complications.
Conclusions: The occult character of the disease and the lack of severe and specific symptoms, rather than the delay in getting extensive diagnostic tests, are responsible for the delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Sphenoid Sinus - radiography, Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms - radiography, Paranasal Sinus Diseases - radiography, Endoscopy, Adult, Time Factors, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, young adult

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