Trans-nasal high-flow dehumidified air in acute migraine headaches: A randomized controlled trial

Rushil Shah, Fabrizio Assis, Bharat Narasimhan, Vahe Khachadourian, Shijie Zhou, Harikrishna Tandri, Nauman Tariq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intranasal high flow of dehumidified (dry) air results in evaporative cooling of nasal passages. In this randomized clinical trial, we investigated the effect of dry gas induced nasal cooling on migraine headaches. Methods: In this single-blind study, acute migraineurs were randomized to either nasal high-flow dry oxygen, dry air, humidified oxygen or humidified air (control) at 15 L/min for 15 min. All gases were delivered at 37°C. Severity of headache and other migraine associated symptoms (International Classification for Headache Disorders, 3rd edition criteria) were recorded before and after therapy. The primary endpoint was change in pain scores, while changes in nausea, photosensitivity and sound sensitivity scores served as secondary endpoints. A linear regression model was employed to estimate the impact of individual treatment components and their individual interactions. Results: Fifty-one patients (48 ± 15 years of age, 82% women) were enrolled. When compared to the control arm (humidified air), all therapeutic arms showed a significantly greater reduction in pain scores (primary endpoint) at 2 h of therapy with dry oxygen (−1.6 [95% CI −2.3, −0.9]), dry air (−1.7 [95% CI −2.6, −0.7)]), and humidified oxygen (−2.3 [95% CI −3.5, −1.1]). A significantly greater reduction in 2-h photosensitivity scores was also noted in all therapeutic arms (−1.8 [95% CI −3.2, −0.4], dry oxygen; −1.7 [95% CI −2.9, −0.4], dry air; (−2.1 [95% CI −3.6, −0.6], humidified oxygen) as compared to controls. The presence of oxygen and dryness were independently associated with significant reductions in pain and photosensitivity scores. No adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Trans-nasal high-flow dry gas therapy may have a role in reducing migraine associated pain. Clinical Trial registration: NCT04129567

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-978
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Migraine
  • dry air
  • dry oxygen
  • high-flow gas therapy
  • humidified air
  • humidified oxygen
  • trans-nasal cooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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