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February 16, 1994

Does This Patient Have Sinusitis?

Author Affiliations

University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, the Netherlands

JAMA. 1994;271(7):501-502. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510310031020

To the Editor.  —In their extensive article on the clinical diagnosis of sinusitis, Drs Williams and Simel1 also review the value of maxillary transillumination. Some additional remarks can be made on the history and possible future of the various techniques of transillumination.As mentioned, Voltolini was the first to describe maxillary transillumination in 1889. Vohsen (1890) and Davidsohn (1892) described nontranslucent pupils on the affected side in cases of sinusitis. Garel and Burger (1893) described a method by which the perception of light by the patient was assessed with closed eyes when a light source was placed in the mouth of the patient. These three techniques were compared with a positive or negative antral lavage by Wilkens (1896) in a series of 79 healthy adults and 23 patients with proven purulent sinusitis.2 He found a sensitivity of 83% to 100% and a specificity of 77% to 100%. The

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