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Incidental paranasal sinusitis on routine brain magnetic resonance scans: association with atherosclerosis

Journal Article

Rosenthal, Peter A.; Lundy, Katherine C.; Massoglia, Dino P.; Payne, Elizabeth H.; Gilbert, Gregory; Gebregziabher, Mulugeta




International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology



Incidental paranasal sinusitis (IPS) non-sinusitis disorders periodontitis (PD)

Background Incidental paranasal sinusitis (IPS) is common on imaging for non-sinusitis disorders, usually without symptoms or obstructive features, and possibly arising from periodontitis (PD). PD associations with atherosclerosis have been widely reported. We test if IPS may also be associated with atherosclerosis. Methods IPS was scored retrospectively in a random sample of 180 magnetic resonance (MR) brain scans and compared with chart review for atherosclerosis (all subtypes), rhinosinusitis, and related factors (smoking, asthma, and relevant surgery). IPS was scored out of 30, from all sinuses, with maxillary sinuses weighted double volumetrically. Significant IPS (Sig IPS) was designated as 6 or more out of 30. Bivariate logistic regression was used to test for associations of Sig IPS to the clinical data, with multivariate analysis then testing for potential confounders. Results A total of 173 subjects were analyzed (7 exclusions). MR indications included suspected acute/prior stroke (22.0%). Sig IPS found in 20 (11.6%). Positive histories for atherosclerosis were cerebral, 57 (32.9%); coronary, 48 (27.7%); and peripheral arterial disease, 14 (8.1%). IPS ≥6 was strongly associated with cerebrovascular disease (odds ratio [OR] 6.0, p < 0.001), and less robustly to smoking (OR 2.9, p = 0.07) and rhinosinusitis (OR 2.4, p = 0.09). No associations with coronary or peripheral artery diseases were found. After controlling for smoking and rhinosinusitis, yielding significant subclinical sinusitis, the link of Sig IPS to cerebrovascular disease persisted (modified OR 5.2, p = 0.002). Conclusion Significant incidental sinusitis, which is mostly subclinical sinusitis, is associated with cerebrovascular disease but not other atheroscleroses. This suggests possible common causation of both by PD.

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