According to a new research study, it has been found that people who have major sinus surgery should consult their ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor before undergoing the COVID-19 swab testing.
The study findings have been published in the journal ‘JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery’.
Philip G. Chen, MD, study senior author from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) said, those performing swab testing should ask whether the patient has had extensive sinus or skull base surgery.
Dr Chen, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in the university’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine said, “If so, other modes of testing such as at the back of the throat should be performed.”
However, Dr Chen said online information about COVID nasopharyngeal swabs lacks information warning those with prior extensive sinus or skull base surgery.
“Not one site of the 200 we searched online had information cautioning against blind nasopharyngeal swab testing in those with a history of sinus or skull base surgery,” he stated.
On asked about how often swabbing is done incorrectly, Dr Chen said, “We really don’t know that. But in a review of videos online by Higgins, et al., the authors found that about half of the videos on how to perform COVID-19 nasopharyngeal swabs were incorrect.”
Issues include incorrect angling of the swab and inappropriate depth of insertion. If the swab angle is too high, a puncture may occur. The sinuses can protect the skull base to a degree, Dr Chen said.
It has reported that injury from incorrect nasopharyngeal swab technique often lead to cerebrospinal fluid leakage or severe bleeding. However, polymerase chain reaction via nasopharyngeal swabs is a test frequently used to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection.