Background: Research has found evidence that chronic inflammation may promote atherosclerotic disease. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that rhinosinusitis is a risk factor for stroke. Methods: This prospective cohort study comprised patients recorded on the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2005 (LHID2005) who had received a diagnosis of rhinosinusitis (n = 53,653) between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2005. A control group (1:4) drawn from the same database was matched for age and gender (n = 214,624). Each patient was followed up using data entered until the end of 2006. Cox proportional hazard regressions were performed to evaluate the hazard ratios (HRs) after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Results: We found that patients with rhinosinusitis were more likely to suffer strokes than the control population, after adjusting for potential confounders (adjusted HR, 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-1.50). The HR of stroke was 1.39 (95% CI, 1.28-1.51) for acute sinusitis patients, and 1.34 (95% CI, 1.04-1.74) for chronic sinusitis patients. Conclusion: Both acute and chronic sinusitis are risk factors or markers for stroke that is independent of traditional stroke risk factors. Further research in this important area of epidemiology is warranted.
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