Identification and treatment of nontuberculous Mycobacterium sinusitis

Jeffrey D. Suh, Vijay R. Ramakrishnan, Bobby Tajudeen, Christine Reger, David W. Kennedy, Alexander G. Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the incidence of atypical Mycobacterium identified by routine sinus cultures and review the recent literature on management. Methods: A retrospective case series was performed in a tertiary academic hospital. A retrospective case series of all patients treated with atypical Mycobacterium rhinosinusitis from 2005 to 2010 was performed. Cases were identified from a prospective database of 676 endoscopically guided sinus cultures. Results: Eight patients with atypical Mycobacterium sinusitis were identified. There were five women and three men. Median age was 63 years (range, 55-71 years). All patients had prior endoscopic sinus surgery a median of 14 months (range, 0.8-162 months) before a positive culture result. Species identified included Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium abscessus, and Mycobacterium avium complex. Chief presenting symptoms were postnasal discharge (88%), followed by decreased smell and taste (63%), and facial pain/pressure (38%). Patients were treated based on sensitivity results with long-term oral antibiotics for at least 2 months based on improvements on endoscopy. Median follow-up for patients in this study after treatment was 1.3 years (range, 0.6-4.6 years). Conclusion: In this study, atypical mycobacteria were identified in <1% of sinus cultures. Prolonged, culture-directed antibiotic therapy remains the mainstay of treatment when there is clinical evidence of infection. Previous endoscopic sinus surgery may represent a risk factor for colonization and subsequent infection. Further research is necessary to determine the optimal treatment duration and management to prevent disease relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-424
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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