What is the pathophysiology of allergic fungal sinusitis?

Updated: Mar 17, 2020
  • Author: Hassan H Ramadan, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Allergic rhinitis is prevalent in this group and is considered to be the trigger mechanism behind allergic fungal sinusitis. Patients are immunocompetent and often have asthma, eosinophilia, and elevated total fungus-specific IgE concentrations. [8]

Surgery reveals greenish black or brown material (ie, allergic mucin), which has the consistency of peanut butter mixed with sand and glue. Allergic mucin and polyps may form a partially calcified expansile mass that obstructs sinus drainage. Growth of the mass may cause pressure-induced erosion of bone, rupture of sinus walls, and occasional leakage of the sinus contents into the orbit or brain.

A study by Gupta et al indicated that allergic fungal rhinosinusitis tends to be more severe when granulomas are present. The study involved 57 patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis, including nine patients with granulomas, with the investigators finding that those with granulomas had a tendency toward orbital and skull base erosion, as well as telecanthus, diplopia, exophthalmos, and facial pain. [9]

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