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Evaluation of positive expiratory pressure as an adjunct to chest physiotherapy in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
  1. J L Hofmeyr,
  2. B A Webber,
  3. M E Hodson

    Abstract

    It has been suggested that positive expiratory pressure may assist the clearance of bronchial secretions in the treatment of cystic fibrosis. It has been compared with currently used postural drainage techniques. Three treatment regimens were compared in 18 patients with cystic fibrosis. Treatment A consisted of breathing exercises emphasising inspiration, interspersed with the forced expiration technique in gravity assisted positions; treatment B comprised breathing exercises with positive expiratory pressure alternating with the forced expiration technique in the same gravity assisted positions; and treatment C comprised breathing exercises with positive expiratory pressure and the forced expiration technique in the sitting position. During treatment A a significantly greater quantity of sputum was produced than during treatments B and C (p less than 0.025 and p less than 0.001 respectively). Treatment B produced more sputum than treatment C (p less than 0.005). There were no significant differences in arterial oxygen saturation, FEV1 or forced vital capacity. Most adolescent and adult patients are able to carry out their treatment independently using gravity assisted positions, breathing exercises emphasising inspiration, and the forced expiration technique. Sputum clearance was less effective when positive expiratory pressure was included in the treatment regimen.

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