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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Common causes of rhinosinusitis include:

  • viral infection
  • allergic and non-allergic rhinitis
  • anatomical variations
    • abnormality of the osteomeatal complex
    • septal deviation
    • concha bullosa
    • hypertrophic middle turbinates
  • cigarette smoking
  • diabetes mellitus
  • swimming, diving, high altitude climbing
  • dental infections and procedures

Rare causes include:

  • cystic fibrosis
  • neoplasia
  • mechanical ventilation
  • use of nasal tubes, such as nasogastric feeding tubes
  • Samter's triad (aspirin sensitivity, rhinitis, asthma)
  • sarcoidosis
  • Wegener's granulomatosis
  • immune deficiency
  • sinus surgery
  • immotile cilia syndrome (1)

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.

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