The Burden and Visit Prevalence of Pediatric Chronic Rhinosinusitis

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Pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis has a substantial impact, but its epidemiology has yet to be elucidated. Our objectives were (1) to determine the associated national visit burden and (2) to assess its frequency relative to other frequent childhood otolaryngological illnesses.

Study Design

Analysis of national survey databases.


Ambulatory care settings in the United States, 2005 to 2012.

Subjects and Methods

Cases with a diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis were assessed in total and as a proportion of all visits reported in National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys. To place these data into context, results for acute rhinosinusitis, allergic rhinitis, upper respiratory tract infection, and otitis media were also extracted and compared. Data specific to individual age group and calendar year were assessed.


Chronic rhinosinusitis accounted for 5.6 million visits per annum (range, 3.7-7.5 million) among patients 0 to 20 years of age. Children in the >5- to 10-year-old and >10- to 15-year-old age groups were more likely to be affected (P < .001). Among all visits, chronic rhinosinusitis was diagnosed in 2.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9%-2.4%), acute rhinosinusitis in 0.6% (95% CI, 0.5%-0.7%), allergic rhinitis in 2.6% (95% CI, 2.3%-2.8%), upper respiratory tract infection in 8.0% (95% CI, 7.5%-8.4%), and otitis media in 6.7% (95% CI, 6.5%-7.1%). Chronic rhinosinusitis visits were significantly more prevalent than for acute rhinosinusitis (relative risk, 3.40; 95% CI, 2.70-4.10; P < .0001). Among those >15 to 20 years of age, chronic rhinosinusitis was 2.18-fold (95% CI, 1.65-2.70) more frequently diagnosed than otitis media.


The visit burden from pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis exceeds that of acute rhinosinusitis and equals the burden from allergic rhinitis.

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