Bronchiectasis: inhaled hypertonic saline does not best isotonic saline

  • Am J Emerg Med

  • de Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Inhaled hypertonic saline for bronchiectasis (permanent dilation of the bronchi causing chronic cough, mucus accumulation, recurrent infections, and decreased lung function) is no more effective than 0.9% isotonic saline, a meta-analysis finds.

Why this matters

  • Past results have been conflicting, and best practice has not been established.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis of 4 randomized controlled trials (N=100).
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Compared with 0.9% isotonic saline, inhaled hypertonic saline did not differ in effectiveness for:
    • FEV1: P=.18.
    • FVC: P=.30.
    • Sputum expectorated: P=.99.
    • Leicester cough questionnaire score: P=.68.

Limitations

  • Small sample sizes.