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Am J Rhinol. 2008 Sep-Oct;22(5):483-6. doi: 10.2500/ajr.2008.22.3221.

Does nasal irrigation enter paranasal sinuses in chronic rhinosinusitis?

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Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.



Nasal irrigation is widely used in treating sinonasal diseases. Not only does it remove static secretions and promote mucociliary clearance, but, in chronic rhinosinusitis, nasal flush is also a potential route for topical drug administration into paranasal sinuses. A clinical study was conducted to investigate how well nasal irrigation could reach paranasal sinuses with the ostiomeatal units blocked in chronic rhinosinusitis. This study was performed to (1) assess the ability of a nasal douche and spray to deliver a solution into the paranasal sinuses in chronic rhinosinusitis and (2) compare the performance of the two techniques.


Fourteen patients, with bilateral chronic rhinosinusitis, underwent nasal irrigation with 140 mg/mL of iodinated contrast solution by 40 mL of douching using an irrigation syringe in one side, and 10 mL of spraying in the other side. A computed tomography scan was undertaken for each patient to determine the volume and the distribution of staining in the nose and paranasal sinuses.


Only two patients had any staining, with a small amount present in a total of three maxillary sinuses (0.10 mL, 0.04 mL, and 0.13 mL). The mean volumes of paranasal sinus staining by nasal douche and nasal spray were 0.0093 and 0.01 mL, respectively. We found that the two techniques had a similar performance. Both of them delivered only a small amount of the solution, if any, into the sinuses (with a mean difference of -0.0007 mL; 95% CI, -0.02-0.02 mL; p = 0.94).


Nasal douche and spray is not effective in delivering a nasal irrigation solution into paranasal sinuses in chronic rhinosinusitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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