Comparing the Use of Saline or Saline Plus Gentamycin in Nasal Irrigation to Treat Chronic Sinusitis in Children


Julie Wei, MD






Drug: Saline
Drug: Gentamycin

Study type


Funder types



10553 (Registry Identifier)

Details and patient eligibility


Healthy children may develop symptoms of chronic sinusitis such as chronic cough, chronic runny nose, nasal congestion, even headaches. Such symptoms may persist long after the child gets over other symptoms of a cold and commonly result in the prescription of oral antibiotics. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether using saline alone or saline plus an antibiotic (gentamycin) to irrigate the nose directly once a day for 6 weeks is effective and safe for the treatment of the above named symptoms. Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans and quality of life surveys will be used to compare the health of the sinuses before and after treatment, and scored to determine which of the two treatments, saline alone or saline with gentamycin, is more effective in the treatment of this condition. The study hypothesis is that intranasal saline irrigation will work as well as saline plus gentamycin, and that majority of the patients will experience significant improvement after a 6 week treatment period.

Full description

In the pediatric population, rhinosinusitis is a common concern resulting frequently in the frequent and unsuccessful prescription of systemic oral antibiotic therapy. Children typically experience an estimated 6-8 upper respiratory illnesses per year, usually viral, and only 13% are estimated to result in true sinusitis. True and chronic sinusitis, if not adequately treated, may result in long term symptoms including nasal airway obstruction, nasal congestion, persistent mucopurulent rhinorrhea, daytime and nocturnal cough, headaches, daytime fatigue, and even exacerbation or poor control of underlying asthma. A child's quality of life can be severely impacted as is their caretaker's due to days of missed school, frequency of doctor visits and courses of oral antibiotic therapy prescribed for the above mentioned symptoms, which ultimately result in the development of resistant organisms in addition to potential negative side effects associated with systemic oral antibiotic use. Intranasal saline irrigation is underutilized in the pediatric population, most likely due to the presumption that children will not cooperate nor tolerate the act of irrigation. Saline irrigation of the nose is an inexpensive and generally well tolerated treatment with very little side effects or risks. Rigorous data regarding the efficacy of saline irrigation has become more available in this past decade, with most studies demonstrating a clear improvement in patient quality of life as measured by various study instruments or outcome surveys. In our protocol, patients will be randomized to receive either saline alone or saline plus gentamycin in the solution form for nasal irrigation once daily for a six week treatment period. Weekly phone calls will be made to check for possible adverse events while patients are on treatment, and at the end of the treatment period another CAT scan will be performed to assess the status of the sinuses. Overall improvement will be determined based on the sinus status on the second CAT scan as well as the quality of life survey filled out by parents.


40 patients




4 to 17 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Healthy children age 4-17

History of "Recurrent" or "Chronic Sinusitis"

Definition: History must include > 3 months of any or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion/nasal airway obstruction
  • Rhinorrhea/Nasal discharge
  • Persistent cough (daytime)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Foul breath
  • Intermittent fever
  • Caregiver (proxy responsible) able to read and understand English
  • Has had at least 3 courses or a total of 21 days of oral antibiotic therapy for above symptoms in the previous 3 months
  • Child has a CT scan of the coronal sinus without contrast within two months prior to visit date, which demonstrates and opacification of a single or multiple, ipsilateral or bilateral sinuses.

Exclusion criteria

  • Inability of caregiver to read and understand English
  • Mental retardation, cognitive impairment, or developmental delay
  • History of cystic fibrosis
  • History of immotile cilia syndrome
  • History of immune suppression/immune compromise
  • CT scan within past 4 weeks available for review at time of clinic visit which is entirely negative for evidence of sinus disease plus complete absence of any of the above symptoms
  • History of endoscopic sinus surgery
  • History of patient's inability to tolerate attempted nasal irrigation in the past 6 months
  • History of recent use of gentamycin intranasal irrigation or saline irrigation within the past 3 months
  • History of presence of nasal polyposis
  • History of allergic reaction of any kind to intravenous gentamycin or aminoglycosides in past medical history (for treatment of any infections)

Trial design

40 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

Experimental group
Saline plus Gentamycin
Drug: Gentamycin
Drug: Saline
Placebo Comparator group
Drug: Saline

Trial contacts and locations



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