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National Heart Lung and Blood Institute


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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider usually can diagnose acute sinusitis by noting your symptoms and examining your nose and face. If your symptoms do not clearly indicate that you have sinusitis or if they persist for a long time and do not get better with treatment, your healthcare professional may order a CT (computerized tomography) scan (a form of X-ray that shows some soft-tissue and other structures that cannot be seen in conventional X-rays) to confirm that you have sinusitis.

Other laboratory tests your healthcare professional may use to check for possible causes of chronic rhinosinusitis include the following:

  • Blood tests to rule out conditions, such as an immune deficiency disorder, that are associated with sinusitis
  • A sweat test or a blood test to rule out cystic fibrosis
  • Tests on the material inside your sinuses to detect bacterial or fungal infection
Front view illustration and side-by-side CT scans of normal and chronic sinusistis. Labeled: frontal sinus, ethmoid sinuses, maxillary sinus, nasal septum, eye socket.
Credit: NIAID

Last Updated April 03, 2012