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Review
June 17, 2021

Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia: A Review

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri
  • 3Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online June 17, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2021.0934
Abstract

Importance  Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a rare, inherited condition involving motile cilia that line the upper and lower respiratory tracts, leading to chronic infections of the paranasal sinuses, middle ear, and bronchi that begin during infancy. Unfortunately, despite its early presentation, PCD is often recognized late.

Observations  People with PCD have diverse clinical manifestations, including chronic upper and lower respiratory tract disease, laterality defects, and subfertility. Through efforts of multinational clinical collaboratives, 4 cardinal features have been described that identify people who likely have PCD: unexplained neonatal respiratory distress, left-right laterality defects, daily wet cough, and nonseasonal rhinosinusitis beginning before 6 months of age. Recent advances in the understanding of the genetics and pathogenesis of the disease have led to a revolution in the approach to screening and diagnostic testing. Moreover, PCD has a broad clinical spectrum, and genotype-phenotype associations are beginning to be recognized.

Conclusions and Relevance  A high index of suspicion remains critical in diagnosing PCD. Children who have at least 2 of the major clinical features should be considered for further evaluation. Nevertheless, while newer tools have improved diagnostic capabilities, there is no single test that will diagnose every person with the disease. In people suspected of having PCD, nasal nitric oxide measurement is a useful screen, followed by diagnostic genetic testing and if negative, ciliary ultrastructural analysis. Despite otolaryngologic manifestations being common in infancy and persisting into adulthood, they have been understudied. Indeed, there are few randomized clinical trials examining the medicosurgical approaches to respiratory disease.

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