Two UTHealth otorhinolaryngology residents were among four Houston-area residents invited to present their research during the Houston Society of Otolaryngology’s annual resident scientific research meeting.  Fifth-year resident Uma Ramaswamy, MD, and fourth-year resident Laura Vandelaar, MD, presented papers at the May meeting of the society.

“One of the research themes of our department is to understand the involvement of bacteria in pathophysiology so that we can select the appropriate antibiotic for treatment,” says Amber Luong, MD, PhD, a fellowship-trained physician-scientist sinus surgeon who is research director for the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “These two papers fall under that umbrella of interest.”

Dr. Ramaswamy’s paper, “Characterization of Bacterial Flora in Chronic Rhinosinusitis Patients at Baseline and During Clinical Exacerbation,” compared the sinonasal microbiome at baseline and during acute exacerbation in eight patients. At baseline the most prevalent bacteria were Streptococcus, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella. During acute exacerbation, the types of bacteria present dropped, and the majority of patients were characterized by what physicians normally associate with an acute bacterial infection in the general population.

Dr. Vandelaar’s paper, “Analysis of Sinonasal Microbiota in Exacerbations of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Subgroups,” examined the use of commercially available DNA-based detection techniques for bacterial identification during acute exacerbations in a cross-section of CRS patients.  Based on 206 specimens from 134 patients diagnosed with chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps (CRSsNP), chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) or allergic fungal rhinosinusitis (ARFS), the researchers found that Staphylococcus species were the most prevalent, with Streptococcus species, Pseudomonas species and Escherichia species also relatively common. Staphylococcus aureus had an increased prevalence in CRSsNP and AFRS patients compared to CRSwNP samples. Otherwise, sinus microbiota were similar among all three clinical subgroups.