Dubai-based Russian expat Nadezhda Kharkova was diagnosed with a rare form of sinus that had begun to affect her vision in the left eye. besides giving her headaches and flu-like symptoms. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Doctors in Dubai have saved a Russian expat who nearly lost her eyesight because of a rare form of sinus.

Nadezhda Kharkova, a 46-year-old nurse, presented herself to the Neurology OPD at the NMC Royal Hospital in Dubai Investment Park recently when her headaches in the left frontal region and flu-like symptoms, which she had been suffering for sometime, would not subside. She also could not see clearly with her left eye.

Dr Sushil Garg, Head of Department & Consultant Neurologist, who first saw her, said she was prescribed treatment based on her symtpoms. “But when the patient still had trouble seeing clearly with her left eye, it prompted her admission, and an MRI showed a complicated issue near the sphenoid sinus. The sphenoid sinus is a hollow air space located deep within the skull, behind the eyes, forming part of the paranasal sinuses,” he explained.

He said, “The MRI showed a lumpy growth pressing on important areas near her left eye. She was diagnosed with a condition called sphenoid sinus mucocele and was then referred to an ENT specialist.”

As a nurse, Nadezhda Kharkova could sense the severity of her condition, following which she sought prompt help. Image Credit: Supplied

What is Sphenoid Sinus Mucocele?

Dr Jayanta Kumar Nath, Specialist Otolaryngologist, said, “A mucocele is a sac filled with mucus. When it happens in the sphenoid sinus deep in the skull base behind the nasal cavity, it’s called a Sphenoid Sinus Mucocele. This is rare, occurring in only one-two per cent of cases. It’s critical because it’s near important structures like the optic nerve, cavernous sinus, and internal carotid artery. In Ms. Kharkova’s case, the mucocele caused bone erosion, pressing on her left eye’s cavernous sinus and artery. This led to blurry vision and severe headaches, requiring urgent medical attention.”

Nadezhda Kharkova with Dr Jayanta Kumar Nath, on her right and Dr Mustafa Kapadia on her left. Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Nath and Dr Mustafa Kapadia, ENT specialist, subsequently began to treat Nadezhda. As Dr Nath said, “The MRI found that she had less clear vision in her left eye. To fix this, doctors urgently relieved pressure on her optic nerve and performed sinus surgery with the help of neurosurgeons. This helped her recover from headaches and regain clear vision.”

Nadezhda said, “As a nurse, I sensed the severity and sought help promptly.  The balanced care I received played a pivotal role in my recovery. My family provided unwavering support throughout.”

Need for prompt intervention

Dr Nath highlighted the urgency of the case: “The patient came to us due to headaches and blurry vision in her left side. After due investigations and diagnosis within two days, we conducted a joint surgery that lasted about 45 minutes, leading to a quick resolution of her medical condition.”

Dr. Kapadia said sphenoid sinus mucocele is a rare condition, constituting only one-two per cent of all cases. “This case contributes to our understanding of sinus conditions, especially in individuals with similar demographic profiles,” he added.

Nadezhda, now in stable condition, said, “This experience has made me more sensitive and calmer. I will focus on taking better care of my health now.”

Can Sphenoid Sinus Mucocele be prevented?

According to Dr Nath, “While such cases are rare, it’s crucial to consider preventive measures to ensure overall sinus health.”

He offered the following practical steps a patient can take:

Go in for periodic health check-ups which can help identify early signs of sinus issues. Timely intervention can prevent the progression of conditions like chronic sinus infections.

Keep your nasal passages clean by using saline nasal sprays. This simple practice can help prevent infections and reduce the risk of sinus-related complications.

Stay hydrated. Proper hydration is essential for overall health, including sinus health. Ensure an adequate water intake to maintain the moisture balance in your nasal passages.

Address allergies promptly as they can contribute to sinus problems. Identify and manage allergies promptly to prevent them from becoming chronic sinus conditions.

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke as this can irritate the sinuses and contribute to various sinus issues.

Protect your head. In situations where head trauma is possible, wear protective gear. Head injuries can sometimes lead to sinus complications.