Clinical study and literature review of nasal irrigation

Laryngoscope. 2000 Jul;110(7):1189-93. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200007000-00023.


Objectives/hypothesis: Nasal disease, including chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic rhinitis, is a significant source of morbidity. Nasal irrigation has been used as an adjunctive treatment of sinonasal disease. However, despite an abundance of anecdotal reports, there has been little statistical evidence to support its efficacy. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of the use of pulsatile hypertonic saline nasal irrigation in the treatment of sinonasal disease.

Study design: A prospective controlled clinical study.

Methods: Two hundred eleven patients from the University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA) Nasal Dysfunction Clinic with sinonasal disease (including allergic rhinitis, aging rhinitis, atrophic rhinitis, and postnasal drip) and 20 disease-free control subjects were enrolled. Patients irrigated their nasal cavities using hypertonic saline delivered by a Water Pik device using a commercially available nasal adapter twice daily for 3 to 6 weeks. Patients rated nasal disease-specific symptoms and completed a self-administered quality of well-being questionnaire before intervention and at follow-up.

Results: Patients who used nasal irrigation for the treatment of sinonasal disease experienced statistically significant improvements in 23 of the 30 nasal symptoms queried. Improvement was also measured in the global assessment of health status using the Quality of Well-Being scale.

Conclusions: Nasal irrigation is effective in improving symptoms and the health status of patients with sinonasal disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nasal Cavity*
  • Nose Diseases / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinitis / therapy
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage*
  • Sinusitis / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic