Background: The indication of chest physical therapy as an adjunct to treatment of children hospitalized with acute pneumonia remains controversial and there is lack of robust scientific evidence on effectiveness of this modality in these patients.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in two tertiary hospitals in southern Brazil. Children aged 29 days to 12 years, hospitalized with pneumonia between February and October of 2006 were recruited. Fifty-one patients were randomly allocated to the intervention group (chest physical therapy plus standard treatment for pneumonia) and 47 to the control group (standard treatment for pneumonia alone). The primary outcome was time to clinical resolution. The secondary outcomes were length of hospitalization and duration of respiratory symptoms and signs.
Results: There were no significant differences in terms of median time to clinical resolution (4.0 vs 4.0 days, p=0.84) and median length of hospital stay (6.0 vs 6.0 days, p=0.76) between the intervention and control groups. The intervention group had longer median duration of coughing (5.0 vs 4.0 days, p=0.04) and of rhonchi in lung auscultation (2.0 vs 0.5 days, p=0.03) than the control group.
Conclusions: Chest physical therapy as adjunct to the standard treatment does not hasten clinical resolution of children hospitalized with acute pneumonia and may prolong duration of coughing and rhonchi.
- Chest physical therapy
- Randomized controlled trial
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