Chest physiotherapy compared to no chest physiotherapy for cystic fibrosis

C van der Schans, A Prasad, E Main
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2000, (2): CD001401

BACKGROUND: Chest physiotherapy is widely used in patients with cystic fibrosis in order to clear mucus from the airways.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness and acceptability of chest physiotherapy compared to no treatment or spontaneous cough alone to improve mucus clearance in cystic fibrosis.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Relevant trials are identified in the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group Specialised Register of Controlled Trials. This register was compiled by conducting computerised searches of Medline from 1966 to present and from Embase from 1974 to 1995. The register of randomised controlled trials is updated every three months. Unpublished work has been identified by searching through the abstract books of the three major cystic fibrosis conferences; the International Cystic Fibrosis Conference: the European Cystic Fibrosis Conference and the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference. Date of the most recent search of the Group's specialised register: November 1999.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised clinical trials in which a form of chest physiotherapy (airway clearance technique) were taken for consideration in patients with cystic fibrosis compared with either no physiotherapy treatment or spontaneous cough alone.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: There were no randomised controlled trials or cross over trials eligible for inclusion in the review.

MAIN RESULTS: There were no randomised controlled trials or cross over trials eligible for inclusion in the review.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Short-term crossover trials, which had to be excluded from this review, suggest that airway clearance regimens could have beneficial effects in patients with cystic fibrosis. However based on this review there is currently no robust scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that chest physiotherapy for the purpose of clearing airway secretions has a beneficial effect in patients with cystic fibrosis.

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