Background: Halotherapy is a treatment modality suggested for patients with chronic pulmonary diseases. In this technique, inhalation of crystal salt stones extracted from mines improves patients' pulmonary function tests and symptoms by facilitating the secretion or expulsion of phlegm and mucus and reducing the risk of bacterial infections. Bronchiectasis is chronic disease of the airways characterized by irreversible dilation of airways. It has a progressive course and despite the available treatments, many of these patients eventually enter the advanced phase of disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of halotherapy on pulmonary function tests and quality of life of non-CF bronchiectatic patients.
Materials and methods: This clinical trial evaluated the results of spirometry and 6-minute walk test as well as the quality of life (according to SF-36 questionnaire) of stable non-CF bronchiectatic patients presenting to the pulmonary clinic before and after the use of salt spray for 2 months.
Results: Of 40 study patients, 20 were excluded due to various reasons and 20 were evaluated. The mean age of patients was 35±11 years and the underlying cause of disease was chronic pulmonary infection in 65% of cases. Comparison of the results of pulmonary function tests and 6-minute walk test and quality of life indices in SF-36 questionnaire before and after the intervention showed no significant difference (P > 0.05). However, 65% of patients were satisfied with halotherapy and requested to receive the medication again.
Conclusion: Our study results indicated that 2-month halotherapy with Salitair inhaler containing salt crystals extracted from the Klodawa mine in Poland could not improve the pulmonary function tests or quality of life of non-CF bronchiectatic patients. No significant side effects were noted in understudy patients. Future studies with larger sample size and longer duration of treatment are recommended to better determine the efficacy of this treatment modality.
Keywords: Halotherapy; Hypertonic saline; Inhalation therapy; Non-CF bronchiectasis.