Decreasing bacterial cross-contamination with a pulsating nasal irrigation device

Mark Keen, Philip G. Chen, Peter John Wormald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The use of nasal irrigation in the management of postoperative endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) patients is commonplace; however, the potential contamination of these bottles is concerning. The Sinugator® cordless pulsating nasal wash (NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Santa Rosa, CA) is a battery-operated, positive pressure, pulsatile pump with a unidirectional flow. The principal aim of this study was to determine the incidence of cross-contamination using the pulsating nasal irrigation device and compare it with the traditional squeeze bottle. Methods: Eleven post-ESS patients were given a NeilMed Sinugator nasal wash to use 3 times per day. A sterile nasal swab was obtained at the initial and second postoperative visits. A swab of the plastic irrigation reservoir was collected at the second visit. Results: The overall contamination rate of bottles was found to be 45%. During the study several different organisms were cultured in the nose and bottles. The most commonly isolated organisms were coliforms and Staphylococcus aureus. We did not observe concomitant organisms in the nasal cultures and bottles in any subject. Conclusion: Despite using a motorized irrigation device, patients and their bottles grew positive cultures. However, no cross-contamination between the patients and bottles was identified, which can be attributed to a design that minimizes backwash.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-634
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Bacteria
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Contamination
  • Nasal douche
  • Nasal irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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