OBJECTIVE: The study goal was to compare endoscopically guided middle meatal cultures with cultures of antral lavage aspirate in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with sinusitis. METHODS: Prospective study of febrile ICU patients for sinusitis at a tertiary medical center. RESULTS: Of 31 antral lavages performed in 18 patients, 19 lavages yielded purulent or mucopurulent aspirate. Endoscopically guided middle meatal cultures yielded the same pathogen, as did cultures of the lavage aspirate in 4 (21%) of these 19 cases. The antral lavage was negative (absence of purulent/mucopurulent aspirate) in 12 cases, and of those, 5 (42%) of the 12 middle meatal cultures showed no growth (sensitivity - 21%, specificity = 58%, χ2-1.52, P = 0.218). CONCLUSION: Endoscopically guided middle meatal cultures did not correlate well with cultures from the antral lavage aspirate in febrile ICU patients evaluated for sinusitis.
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