What is allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS)?

Updated: Apr 13, 2020
  • Author: John E McClay, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Over the past few decades, allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) has become increasingly defined. [1] Historically mistaken for a paranasal sinus tumor, allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) now is believed to be an allergic reaction to aerosolized environmental fungi, usually of the dematiaceous species, in an immunocompetent host. This is in contrast to invasive fungal infections that affect immunocompromised hosts, such as patients with diabetes mellitus and patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Most patients with allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) have a history of allergic rhinitis, and the exact timing of allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) development can be difficult to discern. Thick fungal debris and mucin, as shown below, are developed in the sinus cavities and must be surgically removed so that the inciting allergen is no longer present. Recurrence is not uncommon once the disease is removed, but anti-inflammatory medical therapy and immunotherapy are being employed to help prevent recurrence. [2, 3]

Left middle meatus with suctioning of thick allerg Left middle meatus with suctioning of thick allergic mucin from the ethmoid bulla in the center of the picture; the end of the suction is in the inferior portion of the picture.

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