Purpose of review: Allergic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis are common diseases occurring in both children and adults that consume enormous amounts of health care dollars. In addition to its own costs, allergic rhinitis is considered a major predisposing factor for the development of rhinosinusitis. Whereas many authors suggest a clinical association between these two diseases, the mechanism of how allergic rhinitis predisposes to rhinosinusitis or affects the course of rhinosinusitis remains unclear.
Recent findings: Limited progress has been made in understanding the pathophysiologic mechanism involved in the interaction. Progress in immunologic technique emphasizes the importance of inflammatory cells, especially eosinophils, mast cells, and T lymphocytes, and their mediators. Some authors have proposed a role for neurogenic pathways, whereas others have focused on systemic involvement. Little progress has been made in intervention studies that support the importance of allergic rhinitis in altering the course of acute or chronic rhinosinusitis.
Summary: This paper reviews the limited new literature available to update knowledge that supports the association of allergic rhinitis with rhinosinusitis, mechanisms potentially underlying the association, and implications of this knowledge for therapy.