Nasal irrigations have been used for centuries without any scientific data to determine efficacy. For 10 years, the senior author has used buffered hypertonic saline nasal irrigation for patients with acute/chronic sinusitis and for those having undergone sinus surgery. A simple study was undertaken using volunteers without any significant sinonasal disease.

Patients served as their own control using a saccharin clearance test before any nasal irrigation was used. Patients then used one of two solutions to irrigate their nose-buffered normal saline or buffered hypertonic saline-and were then retested. On a separate day, the control test was repeated, followed by irrigation with the alternate solution and a second saccharin clearance test. The outcome showed buffered hypertonic saline nasal irrigation to improve mucociliary transit times of saccharin, while buffered normal saline had no such effect.

Talbot AR, Herr TM, Parsons DS.

ENT Department, Sydney Hospital, Australia.