Our goal was to revise the literature about external nasal dilators (ENDs) as to their definition, history, and current uses. We reviewed journals in the PubMed and MEDLINE databases. The current uses hereby presented and discussed are physical exercise, nasal congestion and sleep, snoring, pregnancy, cancer, and healthy individuals. Numerous studies have shown that ENDs increase the cross-sectional area of the nasal valve, reducing nasal resistance and transnasal inspiratory pressure and stabilizing the lateral nasal vestibule, avoiding its collapse during final inspiration. These effects also facilitate breathing and are beneficial to patients with nasal obstruction. Furthermore, END use is simple, noninvasive, painless, affordable, and bears minimum risk to the user. Most studies have limited sample size and are mainly focused on physical exercise. In conclusion, ENDs seem useful, so further studies involving potential effects on the performance of physical tests and improvements in sleep quality are necessary, especially in children and teenagers.
Keywords: external nasal dilator; nasal congestion; nasal resistance; nasal valve.