Houston Methodist study finds new chronic rhinitis treatment could be game changer
HOUSTON-(August 11, 2022) – A new study at Houston Methodist evaluating the effectiveness of a minimally invasive, in-office procedure could be a game changer for individuals with chronic rhinitis, which is an upper-respiratory condition marked by a near-constant runny nose, post-nasal drip, congestion, sneezing, coughing, and nasal and throat itching.
Led by Masayoshi Takashima, M.D., chair of Houston Methodist’s Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, the experts showed that a new temperature-controlled radiofrequency therapy is a safe and effective way to improve symptoms of chronic rhinitis. The study, which used the RhinAer System, was published in June online ahead of print in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology and showed the treatment’s effectiveness continued for at least 12 months. Takashima was first author on the study.
According to the CDC, chronic rhinitis results in billions of dollars in health care costs each year, and the associated symptoms have significant impacts on people’s quality of life and ability to go about day-to-day activities. While radiofrequency devices are widely used in nasal therapies, the device Takashima’s study evaluated has the potential to be more precise, less invasive and less painful for patients, because it is temperature controlled. It works by heating up the tissue in the back of the nose and permanently treating the nerve, which prevents the nerve from continually sending signals that cause chronic rhinitis symptoms. By monitoring the tissue temperature and automatically adjusting based on the measurements, the RhinAer System is able to consistently maintain the correct temperature and, thereby, avoid treating nearby tissues.
After 12 months, the patients in Takashima and team’s study who underwent the procedure reported a 57.8% improvement across the board in all measured outcomes. Additionally, the study did not reveal any serious side effects related to the procedure or device. Some minor side effects reported included bleeding that resolved after 24 hours, moderate dry eye, headaches and ear soreness. These side effects, however, were only observed in a few patients.
“Ultimately, our study demonstrated that temperature-controlled radiofrequency to damage nerves in the back of the nose is safe and effective in decreasing symptoms commonly associated with chronic rhinitis,” Takashima said. “Long-term follow-up is ongoing and will better indicate longevity of the treatment’s effectiveness.”
Takashima’s collaborators on this study were corresponding author Jose Pablo Stolovitzky, M.D., with the Department of Otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia; Randall A. Ow, M.D., with Sacramento Ear Nose and Throat Medical and Surgical Group in California; Stacey L. Silvers, M.D., with Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in New York; Nadim B. Bikhazi, M.D., with The Ogden Clinic in Utah; and Curtis D. Johnson, D.O., with ENT and Allergy Associates of Florida.
The trial was sponsored by Aerin Medical, which provided funding for data analysis and manuscript preparation assistance by independent consultants, and also reviewed the content of the manuscript. The final content of the study, however, was solely the responsibility of the authors.
For more information: Temperature-controlled radiofrequency neurolysis for treatment of chronic rhinitis: 12-month outcomes after treatment in a randomized controlled trial. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. (early view online June 17, 2022) Masayoshi Takashima, Jose Pablo Stolovitzky, Randall A. Ow, Stacey L. Silvers, Nadim B. Bikhazi and Curtis D. Johnson. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/alr.23047