The Use of Frozen Section in the Early Diagnosis of Acute Invasive Fungal Sinusitis

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Acute invasive fungal sinusitis (AIFS) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the immunocompromised patient population. Early diagnosis is key to improving patient outcomes. Frozen section biopsies have been shown to decrease time to diagnosis when compared with permanent pathology. However, its accuracy has not been adequately described in the literature, specifically in regard to AIFS. The aim of this study is to evaluate the statistical diagnostic accuracy of frozen sections and to review the etiology, clinical presentation, and current diagnostic protocols in management of AIFS.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.


Tertiary referral center.

Subjects and Methods

Retrospective review included 67 pathologic records in Co-Path, with search criteria including invasive fungal, clinical history, frozen section, and final diagnosis between the dates of 2006 and 2015.


Sixty-seven cases were reviewed per the search criteria in Co-Path. Of these, 31 met further criteria of having had frozen section analysis. Variables such as sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were assessed. All 21 positive frozen sections correlated with positive permanent pathology, giving a positive predictive value of 100%. Frozen section biopsies were 87.5% sensitive and 100% specific.


Early diagnosis of AIFS has been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality. Frozen section biopsies remain key in obtaining an early diagnosis among patients with a high clinical suspicion for invasive fungal sinusitis. Frozen section biopsies positive for invasive fungal pathology were universally consistent with definitive diagnosis.

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