OBJECTIVES: We designed a prospective study to determine whether there is a correlation between the severity of sinus symptoms and the severity of computed tomography (CT) scan evidence of rhinosinusitis. METHODS: Acute and chronic rhinosinusitis patients rated their symptoms and had a CT scan of the sinuses taken the same day. A Likert severity scale and standardized CT scoring system were used. Data were analyzed by nonparametric methods with Kendall's rank correlation coefficient. RESULTS: The severity of 5 symptoms correlated with severity of disease on CT scan. Headache and facial pain or pressure had no correlation. CONCLUSION: The certainty of a clinical diagnosis of rhinosinusitis requiring treatment is enhanced in patients with high symptom severity scores for fatigue, sleep disturbance, nasal discharge, nasal blockage, or decreased sense of smell. Isolated headache and facial pain or pressure are less reliable predictors of CT scan findings supporting the diagnosis rhinosinusitis.
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