This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Go to /pro/cpd-dashboard page

This page is worth 0.05 CPD credits. CPD dashboard

Go to /account/subscription-details page

This page is worth 0.05 CPD credits. Upgrade to Pro


Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses. However, sinusitis is almost always accompanied by inflammation of the contiguous nasal mucosa, hence a more accurate term rhinosinusitis has superseded the terms rhinitis and sinusitis (1,2)

  • usually results from inadequate drainage of the sinuses, typically the maxillary sinus ostium situated under the middle turbinate leading to obstruction with mucus retention and subsequent infection (1)
  • may occur in one or more sinuses (multisinusitis), in one or both sides (1,2,3)

It is one of the most common diagnoses in primary care. In the USA

  • sinusitis affects about 1 in 8 adults, with an annual diagnosis of over 30 million
  • it is the fifth most common diagnosis responsible for antibiotic therapy - more than 1 in 5 antibiotics prescribed in adults are for sinusitis (2)

Sinusitis is generally triggered by a viral upper respiratory tract infection, with only 2% of cases being complicated by bacterial sinusitis (1)


  1. Ah-See KW, Evans AS. Sinusitis and its management. BMJ : British Medical Journal. 2007;334(7589):358-361.
  2. Rosenfeld RM et al. Clinical practice guideline (update): adult sinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;152(2 Suppl):S1-S39
  3. Amber Huntzinger .Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Rhinosinusitis in Adults. American Family Physician 2007;76:10

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.