MedWire News: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) affects up to 10% of Europeans, results from an international, multicentre study suggest.
Writing in the journal Allergy, Wytske Fokkens (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and team explain: "CRS is a common health problem with significant direct medical costs. Its impact on quality of life is comparable with other chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and diabetes."
Despite this, little is known about the prevalence of CRS.
"For Europe, the only estimation of CRS prevalence in the literature is from a study conducted on 99 Belgian patients with suspected intracranial disease who were undergoing MRI scan," they say.
To investigate further, the researchers studied data from a postal questionnaire completed by 57,128 participants, aged 15-75 years, living in 19 centers in 12 European countries. The survey included questions on CRS symptoms, doctor diagnosed CRS, allergic rhinitis, age, gender, and smoking history.
CRS was defined, according to European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and nasal Polyps (EP3OS) diagnostic criteria, by the presence of more than two symptoms, including nasal blockage, nasal discharge, facial pain/pressure, and reduction in sense of smell, for more than 12 weeks in the past year. At least one of the diagnostic symptoms needed to be nasal blockage or discharge.
Using these criteria, the researchers found that the overall prevalence of CRS was 10.9%, with significant differences in prevalence according to center. Helsinki, Finland, and Brandenburg, Germany, had the lowest prevalence, at 6.9%, while the highest was in Coimbra, Portugal, at 27.1%. The median prevalence (10.0%) was in London, UK.
The most striking within-country variation was observed in Germany, where the prevalence was 6.9% in Brandenburg and 14.1% in Duisburg.
The researchers also found that smokers were 1.7 times more likely to have CRS than nonsmokers.
The prevalence of physician-diagnosed CRS within centers was highly and significantly correlated with the prevalence of EP3OS-diagnosed CRS, they note.
Fokkens et al conclude: "Overall, about one in ten participants reported symptoms suggestive of the presence of CRS but there was substantial geographical variation with consistently low prevalence in the Scandinavian centres and Brandenburg, high in France and Poland and an isolated very high prevalence in Portugal.
"Disease was associated with smoking but smoking alone cannot explain the geographical variation of the disease."
They add: "Considering the significant direct medical costs and its impact on lower airway disease, there is an urgent need for further evaluation of different aspects of this disease."
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