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August 1988

Sinusitis in the Nasotracheally Intubated Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Linden and Aguilar) and Anesthesiology (Dr Allen), The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(8):860-861. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860200044013

• Maxillary sinusitis as a complication of nasotracheal intubation has long been recognized as difficult to diagnose and equally difficult to treat. To better define this problem from a diagnostic and therapeutic standpoint, we studied patients admitted to the surgical intensive care unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston-Hermann Hospital over a six-month period. During this time, we identified 19 cases of maxillary sinusitis. Diagnostic criteria included fever, leukocytosis, purulent rhinorrhea, and maxillary sinus opacification or air fluid level noted on sinus roentgenograms. Patients who met these criteria underwent maxillary sinus aspiration. Sixteen patients were receiving antibiotic therapy when sinusitis was diagnosed. All patients had their endotracheal tubes replaced orally, had diseased maxillary antra lavaged, and underwent appropriate antibiotic therapy guided by culture and sensitivity studies. Four of 19 patients required more than one sinus lavage, but all patients had their sinus disease resolve. These data suggest an aggressive approach to diagnosing sinusitis in the nasotracheally intubated patient is needed. A maxillary sinus aspiration and lavage should be an integral part of the diagnosis and treatment of these patients.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1988;114:860-861)