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To investigate the impact of nasal irrigation with isotonic or hypertonic sodium chloride solution on mucociliary clearance time in patients with allergic rhinitis, acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.
Patients and methods:
Mucociliary clearance time was measured using the saccharine clearance test on 132 adults before and after 10 days' application of intranasal isotonic or hypertonic saline. Patient numbers were as follows: controls, 45; allergic rhinitis, 21; acute sinusitis, 24; and chronic sinusitis, 42. The results before and after irrigation were compared using the Wilcoxon t-test.
Before application of saline solutions, mucociliary clearance times in the three patient treatment groups were found to be significantly delayed, compared with the control group. Irrigation with hypertonic saline restored impaired mucociliary clearance in chronic sinusitis patients (p < 0.05), while isotonic saline improved mucociliary clearance times significantly in allergic rhinitis and acute sinusitis patients (p < 0.05).
Nasal irrigation with isotonic or hypertonic saline can improve mucociliary clearance time in various nasal pathologies. However, these solutions should be selectively prescribed rather than used based on anecdotal evidence. Further studies should be conducted to develop a protocol for standardised use of saline solution irrigation in various nasal pathologies.
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