Background: Hyaluronic acid (HA) is major physiological component of the extracellular matrix, which, in its high molecular weight form (HMW-HA) has anti-inflammatory properties. The diffusion of many different medical devices for inhalation therapy containing HA has led to an increase in their prescription, also in children. Here, we systematically review the published evidence on the efficacy and safety of HA for the treatment of upper and lower airway diseases in childhood. Methods: Relevant published studies (randomized controlled trials) for the efficacy of HA inhalation in children with upper airways diseases, asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), and non-CF bronchiectasis were searched in Pubmed, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge databases by combining the adequate Medical Subject Headings terms and keywords, with no limit for the year of publication. Results: We identified seven relevant publications for upper airways diseases, one for asthma, and five for CF, while we found no clinical trial including children with non-CF bronchiectasis. Meta-analysis was not conducted due to the heterogeneity of the included studies. Conclusions: The evidence of HA efficacy in the treatment of the upper and lower airways is still limited in children. Available data suggest that inhaled HMW-HA could be useful in the treatment of recurrent upper respiratory infections and chronic or recurrent inflammation of the middle ear and adenoids as well as of the lower airways in cystic fibrosis in association with hypertonic saline solution. Studies on larger populations and on the different formulations and nebulization methods, especially in pediatric age, are urgently needed.
- hyaluronic acid
- recurrent respiratory infections
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine