Older Patients

Older patients with a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis a disease of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses that often persists over many years have a unique inflammatory signature that may render them less responsive to steroid treatment, according to a new study publish by Vanderbilt researchers.
The study publish in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology examine tissue and mucus specimens of 147 patients between the ages of 18 to 78 who require sinus surgery for their chronic sinusitis. With an initial goal of identifying subgroups of patients base on their inflammatory signature the different cytokines and inflammatory proteins found in tissue or mucus Vanderbilt investigators recognize that one of the identify subgroups was enrich in patients over age 60.

Requires surgical intervention

Most chronic sinusitis in North America particularly; so the kind that requires surgical intervention has an inflammatory signature characterize by a group of cytokines; hence associate with allergy and asthma called Th2 associate cytokines, said Justin Turner, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and a lead investigator for the study.
Older patients tend to not have significant elevations of those particular cytokines. In contrast, they have an elevation of cytokines that are associate with the body’s innate immune function; so both acute and chronic inflammatory responses, and that is highly dependent on age. You don’t see an elevation in those cytokines until around age 60, and then from that age on; hence there’s a progressive increase in the levels of those cytokines seen in the mucus and the tissue of those patients.

Because of this variation, older patients would theoretically be less; so likely to respond to the steroids used to treat chronic sinusitis characterize by Th2 associate cytokines. According to Turner, topical steroids such as nasal sprays and irrigations are heavily relied upon for long-term disease and symptom management.

Respect to chronic sinusitis

They’re hoping this data will stimulate some interest in the elderly population with respect to chronic sinusitis management, because it suggests we may need patient specific treatments targeting these older patients. That’s particularly important because steroids can have a number of short and long term adverse effects; also those side effects are much more likely in older patients than they are in younger patients,” said Turner.
To solidify and build upon these findings; so Turner’s team is currently using data gather over the last several years to compare surgical outcomes based on age. Preliminary data suggest that older patients have less perceive benefit from sinus surgery than younger patients; which may be indicative that their disease is distinct; also their options for post operative medical management may be less likely to provide relief.

Their end goal is that we’re looking for better ways to treat chronic sinus disease; also to understand the disease process a little better, said Turner. They feel we have identify a characteristic of a fairly large population of patients; so that may ultimately change our treatment of those patients going forward. It at least suggests that we need to be doing more research target at that population.

This study serves as an example to reinforce; so the vital rationale for academic medical centers, said Roland Eavey, MD, Guy M. Maness Professor and chair of Otolaryngology and director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. A curious clinician scientist, team with collaborative clinicians and trainees; so in an environment with laboratory and basic researcher resources ;hence sets sail to discover the Far East and on the way encounters the New World.