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Kristin Hayes, R.N.

New Study Reports on the Benefits of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

By January 4, 2010

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A new study originally reported by Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and which you can read more about on Medpage Today explored the benefits of endoscopic sinus surgery for rhinosinusitis. Timothy Smith, MD, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland is quoted as summarizing the findings of the study on sinus surgery this way, "The surgery reduced disability and improved quality of life." Researchers also found that the surgery is more beneficial for those undergoing sinus surgery for the first time rather than subsequent surgeries.

What really caught my eye was the last paragraph of the article in Medpage Today (written by Michael Smith) however. " [Dr. Jordan] Josephson said in an e-mail that chronic rhinosinusitis is "one limb" of what he has called chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease, which he believes also includes allergies, asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux." The current study, he said, is one of the "first steps to elucidating this very complex inflammatory disease."

What is chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease? I'd never heard the term so I Googled it. I found this article about the term on the website lumrex.net. While the article does shed some light on Dr. Josephson's comments, in my mind, there is still some explaining to do. First of all, I find it very easy to see the connection between allergies, asthma, snoring, and sleep apnea. For example, allergies can make asthma worse, can cause nasal polyps and other sinus problems which can then in turn obstruct the airway causing sleep apnea and snoring. I still don't see a major connection to gastroesophageal reflux. While reflux can irritate the back of the throat and perhaps irritate breathing passages it seems that researchers are anxious to put a new spin on GERD. I recently did a blog in which a study hypothesized the disease as being an autoimmune disorder. This would probably not be consistent with Dr. Josephson's theory. Whatever the cause, however, I look forward to finding it and finding out more about chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease.

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