The role of exercise in aiding sputum expectoration in patients with cystic fibrosis and the comparative roles of exercise and physiotherapy in sputum expectoration were assessed in two studies. In the first study 19 adult patients undertook a two month programme of home exercise using a cycle ergometer. In the 12 patients completing the study peak work capacity, maximum oxygen consumption, and maximum minute ventilation had increased significantly by the end of the exercise programme; the increase in daily sputum weight (from 24 to 37 g) was not significant (p = 0.055). In the second study (with 10 patients) more sputum was expectorated during and after physiotherapy than during and after exercise (9.8 v 4.0 g). Exercise may have a role in aiding sputum expectoration in patients with cystic fibrosis but should not be considered as a replacement for physiotherapy.
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