Margaret Rosenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., of Seattle Children's Hospital, and colleagues conducted a study to examine if hypertonic saline would reduce the rate of pulmonary exacerbations in children younger than 6 years of age with cystic fibrosis (CF). Inhaled hypertonic saline is recommended as therapy for patients 6 years or older with CF, but its efficacy has not been evaluated in patients younger than 6 years.
In the randomized trial, the active treatment group (n = 158) received 7 percent hypertonic saline and the control group (n = 163) received 0.9 percent isotonic saline, nebulized (dispensed in a fine mist) twice daily for 48 weeks. The researchers found that the average pulmonary exacerbation rate was similar between both groups. "Hypertonic saline did not reduce the rate of pulmonary exacerbations in these young children. In addition, hypertonic saline did not demonstrate any significant effects on secondary end points including weight, height, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, antibiotic use, or parent report of respiratory signs and symptoms."