The efficacy of hypertonic saline nasal irrigation for chronic sinonasal symptoms

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jul;133(1):3-8. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2005.03.002.


Objective: 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.

Study design and setting: 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.

Results: 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.

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

Significance: HSNI is an effective adjunctive treatment of chronic sinonasal symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nasal Cavity / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rhinitis / therapy*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use*
  • Sinusitis / therapy*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic