Sinus surgery in Cystic Fibrosis patients: Comparison of sinus and lower airway cultures

Brianne Barnett Roby, John McNamara, Marsha Finkelstein, James Sidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine whether cross-infection occurs between infections in the sinuses and lower airways in Cystic Fibrosis patients, and to determine whether the infections begin in the sinuses before spreading to the lungs. Methods: Retrospective study of pediatric Cystic Fibrosis patients who underwent simultaneous sinus surgery and bronchial washings. The results of the cultures were reviewed to determine if the same organisms colonized both the sinuses and lower airways. Results: Staphylococcus aureus (Staph. Aureus) was found in 40.7% of the sinuses but only 33.3% of the lower airways. One patient had Staph. Aureus in the lower airway but not the sinuses. Pseudomonas, Hemophilus Influenza, and Moraxella showed similar patterns: multiple instances of positive sinus cultures and negative bronchial cultures, but only a small number of cases with positive lower airway cultures and negative sinus cultures. Conclusion: The data showed that as patients age, they are more likely to have infections in both upper and lower airways, but infections start in the upper airways at a younger age. In many cases, organisms were cultured from sinuses in patients who had negative lower airway cultures. In only a few instances, organisms grew in the lower airways and not the sinuses. In most cases, the bacteria that caused sinus infections at a young age caused the lung infections in older patients. This is the paper to show that bacteria spread from the sinuses to the lungs to cause infections in Cystic Fibrosis patients, and not vice-versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1369
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Bronchoscopy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Sinus

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