Friday, 29. June 2012

Congress news in March/ April 2012

Hypertonic saline - also effective in bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis, permanent dilation of the bronchi and bronchioles as a result of muscle and elastic connective tissue destruction, occurs mainly in cystic fibrosis patients. This disease also represents a very serious complication in 30-50% of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is the physician's responsibility to choose an effective medication to suit the individual requirements of the patient.

To date, there are only a few evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of this disease.

At this year's congress of the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine, various options were discussed [1,2].

In addition to anti-inflammatory and antibacterial medication, physiotherapy that improves drainage of secretions also play an important role.

And this point the inhalation of hypertonic saline (e.g. Mucoclear 6%) becomes involved, due to the proven positive effect on mucociliary clearance.

Initial studies in patients with COPD and bronchiectasis [3, 4] confirm the following effects of hypertonic saline

· Increased sputum production and ease of expectoration

· Improved lung function · Reduced annualized antibiotic usage

· Reduced number of exacerbations (worsening of the symptoms)

· Improved quality of life

Even though no official recommendations have yet been made, this information suggest that inhalation of hypertonic saline is an effective and cost efficient approach to successful therapy


1 Rademacher 2012; Kongress der deutschen Gesellschaft für Pneumologie

   und Beatmungsmedizin e.V.; Vortrag

2 Rademacher et al; Internist; 2010 Dec;51(12):1510-5

3 Kellet et al. Respir Med 2011; 105(12):1831

4 Nicolson et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010; 181:3183