Thursday, March 21, 2013

Exposure to Inhaled Agents at Work Means 1 in 4 of Operated Chronic Sinusitis Patients Fail to Recover

Photo: David Castillo Dominici
Researchers in Belgium say exposure to occupational agents at work should be taken into account as a risk factor for the occurrence of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). They say that continued exposure at work may also be the cause of its recurrence or persistence, as evidenced by the need for revision surgery.

This conclusion on the chronic sinusitis study will be discussed, alongside other issues at the 9th Symposium on Experimental Rhinology and Immunology of the Nose, in Belgium next week.

Acute and chronic rihnosinusitis (ARS and CRS) are common diseases affecting up to 10 per cent of the Western population and are usually treated by functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) when medical treatment fails. However 10 to 15 per cent of operated patients respond insufficiently to FESS with the main reason believed to be exposure to inhaled noxious agents. The recent studies involving a controlled patient population further point to evidence that occupational exposure represents a large risk factor for the occurrence of rhinosinusitits and its recurrence after surgery.

Occupational agents that were most frequently mentioned by patients and controls are: bleach, inorganic dust, paints, cement, thinner, ammonia, white spirit, fuel gas and acetone with cleaners, caretakers, housewives, builders, painters, carpenters and mechanics the occupations most at risk.

The conclusion, spearheaded by Professor Peter Hellings from the Department of ENT at University Hospital Leuven, reveal that in addition to the continued need to prevent harmful chemical exposure at work, there is a further necessity for more research in this area through prospective clinical studies as well as fundamental research exploring pathophysiological mechanisms of occupational upper airway disease.

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