ANCHOR LEAD: HOW SHOULD BACTERIAL INFECTIONS OF THE SINUSES BE DIAGNOSED? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Overuse of antibiotics to treat presumed sinus infections may be a problem of where patients are going for diagnosis, says Andrew Lane, a sinus expert at Johns.
LANE: The people who are seeing these sinusitis patients are by and large not otolaryngologists, they are primary care physicians, and they don’t have access to endoscopes and specialized equipment that you would need to see infected material coming out of a sinus passageway so otolaryngologists will look in the nose with an endoscope and if we see infected material coming out of the sinus we can culture directly and that’s really the only gold standard for bacterial sinusitis, and that’s part of the problem is that there isn’t any gold standard in the hands of the primary care physician to say yes, this is bacterial sinusitis or no, it is not. :33
People who want to avoid being treated with antibiotics unnecessarily may want to seek the advice of a specialist to make the diagnosis, especially if the problem is recurring. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.