We conducted a prospective study to assess (1) the effects of daily nasal irrigation in children with chronic sinonasal symptoms and (2) the impact that treatment had on disease-specific quality of life as assessed by a validated instrument, the five-item Sinus and Nasal Quality of Life Survey (SN-5), and by an overall nasal quality-of-life (NQL) score based on a 10-point faces scale. Our patient population was made up of 10 children-7 girls and 3 boys, aged 3 to 9 years (mean: 6.1)-who had presented with symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis for more than 3 months and who had not responded to previous medical management. Patients were administered nasal saline lavage daily for 1 month. These patients and/or their caregivers completed an SN-5 questionnaire upon entry into the study and at the completion of treatment. At study's end, a comparison of pre- and post-treatment scores with paired Student t tests showed that the mean total SN-5 score improved significantly over baseline, falling 45% from 21.4 to 11.7 (p = 0.0002). Moreover, significant overall improvement was seen in each of the five subcategories of the SN-5 survey (p = 0.0009 to 0.038). The NQL scores also improved significantly from 4.7 to 7.7 (p = 0.0034). Compliance with nasal lavage was generally good among the 10 patients, as 8 of them used at least 75% of the recommended quantity of saline at least once a day. During a follow-up period that ranged from 2 to 23 months (mean: 10.4), only 1 patient required an adenoidectomy for symptom control. The results of this pilot study suggest that nasal saline lavage may significantly alleviate chronic sinonasal symptoms and improve disease-specific quality of life in children with symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis.
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