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Chronic Rhinitis Treatment Uses Temperature-Controlled Radiofrequency Device to Improve Outcomes

Feb. 7, 2023 - Eden McCleskey

A new minimally invasive, in-office procedure for chronic rhinitis could be a game-changer for individuals who suffer from near-constant runny nose, post-nasal drip, congestion, sneezing, coughing and nasal and throat itching.

In a multi-center study led by Dr. Masayoshi Takashima, chair of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Houston Methodist, a temperature-controlled radiofrequency device known as the RhinAer System demonstrated it could safely and effectively treat overactive nerves in the back of the nose, significantly decreasing rhinitis symptoms.

"Every year, chronic rhinitis costs Americans billions of dollars in health care expenses and lost productivity, and many individuals who suffer from it find little to no relief in over-the-counter and prescription remedies," says Dr. Takashima. "For these patients, surgery to lyse the posterior nasal nerve is often needed, but previous radiofrequency, cryosurgical and endoscopic laser ablation techniques have been inconsistent and are prone to damaging healthy tissue in the nose."

The RhinAer System works by heating up the tissue in the back of the nose and impairing the nerve's ability to send signals that promote chronic rhinitis symptoms. Because it is temperature controlled, it has the potential to be more precise, less invasive and less painful for patients than other treatments.

"By monitoring the tissue temperature and automatically adjusting based on the measurements, the device is able to consistently maintain the correct temperature and avoid injuring nearby tissues," Dr. Takashima explains.

In addition to this impressive safety feature, the 12-month results from the prospective, randomized, single-blind trial revealed that 80.6% of patients in the active treatment arm responded to the therapy, with an average improvement in symptoms of 57.8%.

No serious side effects related to the procedure were revealed during the study. Some minor side effects, including mild bleeding at the site, moderate dry eyes and soreness, were temporary and only observed in a few individuals.

A total of 117 patients were enrolled in the trial and randomized two-to-one: 78 patients received the treatment and 39 were assigned to a sham-control arm. The response rate for the treatment arm was superior to the sham-control arm in the initial three-month study and has only continued to increase: 67.5% at three months, 75.0% at six months and 80.6% at 12 months.

"Preliminary results of our longer-term studies show continued improvement of chronic rhinitis symptoms with time," Dr. Takashima says. "We will continue to follow this group of patients for at least two years to evaluate efficacy and assess treatment longevity."

Read more about this device in Methodology, published by the Houston Methodist Academic Institute.


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