Sleep and psychological dysfunction are top concerns for cystic fibrosis patients with sinusitis, driving preference for endoscopic sinus surgery

Findings suggest research that addresses these issues through alternative interventions may reduce surgical procedures

A new study finds that symptoms ranked as the most significant concern for individuals with cystic fibrosis were complaints associated with psychological dysfunction and sleep disturbances, indicating a high value placed on quality of life. 

The study, led by Daniel Beswick, MD, an otolaryngologist for the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA Health, analyzed what symptoms drive people with cystic fibrosis to seek endoscopic sinus surgery versus medical therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis. 

The observational, multi-institutional study studied adults with cystic fibrosis. Participants were asked to rank the importance of improving symptoms commonly associated with chronic sinusitis, emphasizing the significance of addressing the symptoms that compel people with cystic fibrosis to seek treatment for sinusitis. In addition to sleep and psychological dysfunction, other notable symptoms of concern were congestion, post-nasal discharge, facial pain, pressure, fatigue, and cough. 

“Although the prioritization of symptoms varied among participants, it was interesting to note that symptoms affecting diverse quality of life domains were concerning for people with cystic fibrosis,” Beswick said. “As sleep and psychological dysfunction-related symptoms stand out as significant factors for pursuing surgical intervention, this underscores the importance of ongoing research aimed at targeting these specific domains. Such efforts could potentially diminish the need for surgical procedures.”   

Among other findings:   

  • Nasal blockage and congestion were the top complaints across study participants in all groups.
  • All people with cystic fibrosis and chronic sinusitis prioritized rhinology symptom improvement.
  • People with cystic fibrosis pursuing surgical management for chronic sinusitis were more likely to prioritize psychological dysfunction symptoms compared to the medically managed group. 

Beswick said these findings support previous studies that showed that sleep quality and depression were associated with electing sinus surgery. 

“In addressing sleep concerns among patients with sinusitis in other populations, surgical treatment enhances sleep quality compared to medical management,” Beswick said. “This underscores the importance of assessing post-surgical outcomes in individuals with cystic fibrosis and chronic sinusitis as areas for future research.”