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Primary immunodeficiency and recalcitrant chronic sinusitis: a systematic review.

BACKGROUND: A subset of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) has disease refractory to standard therapies. Primary immunodeficiency should be considered in this group. Past literature has demonstrated an association between immunodeficiency and chronic sinusitis.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed using OVID, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases to identify English language papers containing original human data on subjects with primary immunodeficiency and chronic sinusitis. A total of 39 studies met inclusion criteria. Data was collected pertaining to immune dysfunction in patients with chronic sinusitis, the clinical workup for these patients, and the effectiveness of medical and surgical treatments. The studies were assessed to determine their level of evidence.

RESULTS: The majority of studies were supported by Level 4 evidence. Up to 50% of patients with recalcitrant CRS were found to have immune dysfunction. The most frequent primary immunodeficiencies studied were common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) and X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA). Common collected data included measurement of serum immunoglobulins and functional antibody responses. Treatments reviewed include immunoglobulin replacement, long-term antibiotics and endoscopic sinus surgery.

CONCLUSION: Patients with recalcitrant CRS should be evaluated for primary immunodeficiency. This should include as assessment of quantitative serum immunoglobulin levels as well as functional antibody responses. Medical therapy, particularly immunoglobulin replacement therapy, appears to be most effective when administered at high doses early in the disease course. The addition of surgery is less clearly supported, but may also provide benefit if performed early.

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