Each year more than 40,000 people have their tonsils out it is the most common elective childhood operation in Australia but this number could be reduced by a simple nasal spray being trialed by Melbourne researchers.

Lead researcher Dr Kirsten Perrett, from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute said a largescale trial will test whether an anti-inflammatory nasal spray could help children who snore or have breathing difficulties while sleeping. Around 10 per cent of children worldwide experience this problem.

Dr Perrett said the most common treatment for snoring is to surgically remove the adenoids and tonsils.

"Surgery is a big deal for any child," Dr Perrett said. "It requires an anesthetic, can be very painful and there are risks of bleeding. In addition, waiting lists for this surgery in some public hospitals are many months to years."

Associate Professor, Gillian Nixon, a paediatric respiratory and sleep physician overseeing the trial at Monash Children's Hospital, said the nasal spray needs to be used for six weeks.

"We are optimistic that this nasal spray may be a simple, safe alternative to surgery in many children to treat this common childhood problem," Dr Perrett said.

"We will be recruiting around 300 children aged three to 12 years of age to test the effectiveness of the nasal spray.

"We are accepting children into the trial who have been referred for snoring to either the Royal Children's Hospital or Monash Children's Hospital."

For more information and to trial registration see, MIST+ trial.

Available for interview

  • Dr Kirsten Perrett
  • A/ Professor Gillian Nixon

Media Contact

Christine Tondorf, MCRI Media Advisor
Phone: 03 9936 6197 / 0413 307 092

Bridie Byrne, MCRI communications specialist (media/PR)
Phone: +613 9936 6211 / 0403 664 416