Researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill have revealed that inhaling hypertonic saline is good for the lungs of patients affected by cystic fibrosis (CF). Hypertonic saline is a water-based salt solution with excess concentration of the salt.
The researchers arrived at this conclusion after testing 24 patients aged 14 or older for two weeks., They found that inhaling the salt solution improved the health of the lungs and the mucus clearance was better. Lung function in general also showed
a marked improvement. The study titled "Sustained Improvement in Mucus Clearance and Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis with Hypertonic Saline" will appear in the January 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation funded this particular study. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, genetic often-fatal disease that affects children right from the birth. The most common cause of death is respiratory failure and this study if applicable in young children as well as adults could delay the advent of lung damage due to the disease. The UNC researchers say that concentrated saline helps by clearing the bacteria and debris in the airway and providing a relatively bacteria-free passage to inhaled air. Repeated lung infections are though to weaken the respiratory system in this disease.
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NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute