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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jul;133(1):3-8.

The efficacy of hypertonic saline nasal irrigation for chronic sinonasal symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School-Madison, 53715, USA. david.rabago@fammed.wisc.edu



To assess quality of life (QOL) in patients with sinonasal symptoms in response to hypertonic saline nasal irrigation (HSNI), and to assess HSNI use patterns.


The study was an uncontrolled 12-month follow-up to a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and used HSNI in a community setting. We included 54 participants with recurrent or chronic sinonasal symptoms. Forty participants had been in the intervention group of a previous study; 14 had been control participants. Primary outcome measures were the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index (RSDI), a sinus-symptom severity assessment (SIA), and the Sino-Nasal Outcomes Test (SNOT-20). Secondary outcome measures were frequency and pattern of HSNI use, side effects and satisfaction.


Among participants using HSNI in the prior RCT, RSDI scores continued to improve, from 73.2 +/- 2.6 points to 80.6 +/- 2.4 points (P < 0.001). SIA and SNOT-20 scores remained stable. Former control participants reported QOL improvement similar to that of HSNI users in the prior RCT. RSDI scores improved from 62.0 +/- 3.9 points to 79.7 +/- 3.7 points (P < 0.05), SNOT-20 scores improved from 43.5 +/- 5.7 points to 28.4 +/- 4.8 points, and SIA scores improved from 4.2 +/- 0.3 points to 2.6 +/- 0.3 points (P < 0.01). Mean HSNI use for all participants was 2.4 irrigations per week; 33% of participants used HSNI regularly, 55% when symptomatic. Side effects were minor; satisfaction was high.


Participants with chronic sinonasal symptoms reported improved QOL and frequent, satisfying use of HSNI.


HSNI is an effective adjunctive treatment of chronic sinonasal symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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