METHODS: Physician-diagnosed sinusitis was reported at age 6. Adult sinusitis (age 22 and 32 years) was defined as self-reported sinusitis plus physician-ordered sinus radiologic films. Atopy was assessed by skin prick test. Individuals were grouped into four phenotypes: no sinusitis (n=621), transient childhood sinusitis only (n=57), late-onset adult sinusitis only (n=68), and early-onset chronic sinusitis (childhood and adult sinusitis, n=26).
RESULTS: Sinusitis was present in 10.8% of children and 12.2% of adults. Childhood sinusitis was the strongest independent risk factor for adult sinusitis (OR=4.2, 95%CI: 2.5/7.1, p<0.0001, n=772). Early-onset chronic sinusitis was associated with increased serum IgE levels at 9 months of age, atopy, childhood eczema and allergic rhinitis, frequent childhood colds, maternal asthma, and with increased prevalence of concurrent asthma. No association was found between late-onset adult sinusitis and any of the early life risk factors studied.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified an early-onset chronic sinusitis phenotype associated with a predisposition to viral infections/colds in early life, allergies, and asthma. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms for this phenotype may lead to future therapies to prevent the progression of the disease into adult sinusitis.