“This study was designed to help determine how great a risk antibiotic resistance was among chronic sinus patients to determine if there is a need to re-evaluate how we diagnose and treat the condition. Interestingly, our research shows that patients suffering from chronic sinus infections may be able to lower their rate and likelihood of antibiotic resistance if a careful and strict approach to care is followed,” said Neil Bhattacharyya, M.D., an otolaryngologist at BWH and the study’s lead author.

In this study, Bhattacharyya and co-author Lynn J. Kepnes, R.N.P., followed 90 CRS patients over a seven-year period. Bacteria cultures were analyzed for changes in each patient’s level of antibiotic resistance over the course of his or her treatment. They found no significant increase in levels of bacteria-resistant organisms in the samples they collected.

Importantly, the majority of patients studied underwent a minimally invasive procedure to confirm that the infection was indeed caused by bacteria and to identify the specific type of bacteria so that a targeted, rather than a general, antibiotic could be prescribed.

“Given the debate surrounding proper treatment of this population in general, our findings add more evidence that antibiotics should be used as long as they are used carefully, and this begins with procedures that help guide accurate prescribing,” said Bhattacharyya.