European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 275, Issue 9, pp 2403–2406 | Cite as

Effect of the temperature of nasal lavages on mucociliary clearance: a randomised controlled trial

  • Marcel Sauvalle
  • Andrés AlvoEmail author
Short Communication



The respiratory epithelium is mainly constituted by caliciform (produces mucus, responsible of keeping moisture and trapping particles) and ciliated cells (transports mucus into the pharynx, by the movement of multiple cilia). For centuries, nasal lavages have been used for different rhinosinusal conditions. Some studies suggest not only a direct effect on the mobilisation of secretions, but also an improvement in mucociliary clearance rates. To our knowledge, the impact of temperature in nasal lavages has been scarcely studied.


We used the saccharin test—applying it in the inferior turbinate and timing the detection of its taste—, to estimate mucociliary clearance rates before and after nasal lavages with saline solution at room (20 °C) or body (37 °C) temperatures.


78 healthy subjects were studied, with a mean saccharin test time of 13.88 min. Then, a nasal lavage was performed, half with 20 °C saline and the other with 37 °C. In both, times improved from baseline (from 13.66 to 11.59 and 14.06 to 9.4 min, respectively) with p values < 0.05.


Nasal lavages with saline solution improve mucociliary clearance as measured by saccharin test. Temperature seems to matter, which should be taken into account when indicating nasal lavages to our patients.


Nasal lavage Mucociliary clearance Nasal mucosa Rhinosinusitis Rhinitis 




Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval (research in humans)

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyHospital Clínico Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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