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A national survey: percussion, vibration, shaking and active cycle breathing techniques used in patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Abstract

Objectives

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a frequent cause of hospital admission in older people. There is a perception that manual chest physiotherapy techniques are commonly used in the treatment of patients admitted with acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD). However, it is not clear which chest physiotherapy techniques benefit patients admitted with AECOPD, or even which techniques are currently being employed. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of percussion, vibration, shaking and active cycle breathing techniques (ACBT) by physiotherapists working in respiratory care and treating patients admitted with AECOPD.

Design

A postal questionnaire was used to survey physiotherapists working in respiratory care in 190 acute hospital trusts in the UK about chest clearance physiotherapy techniques used in the treatment of patients admitted with AECOPD.

Results

Of the 190 questionnaires mailed, 146 (77%) complete responses were received. One hundred and twenty-nine (88%) respondents reported that they always or often used ACBT, compared with 38 (26%), 16 (11%) and 12 (8%) respondents for vibration, shaking and percussion, respectively. The differences were statistically significant: ACBT used always/often versus vibration used always/often (χ2=5.8, P=0.01); ACBT used always/often versus percussion used always/often (χ2=8.3, P<0.0001); and ACBT used always/often versus shaking used always/often (χ2=6.7, P<0.001).

Conclusions

Manual chest physiotherapy techniques (vibration, percussion and shaking) were used infrequently for chest clearance in patients admitted with AECOPD, whereas ACBT was used always or often by 88% of responders.

Cite this article

A national survey: percussion, vibration, shaking and active cycle breathing techniques used in patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Abebaw M. Yohannes, Martin J. Connolly Physiotherapy - June 2007 (Vol. 93, Issue 2, Pages 110-113, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2006.07.003)

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