Airway clearance techniques for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Physical therapy practice in Sweden

Elisabeth Westerdahl, Christian Osadnik, Margareta Emtner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is considerable global variability in clinical practice regarding the prescription of airway clearance techniques (ACTs) for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). Little is known about the physical therapy practice, and no international guidelines are available. The aim of this survey was to identify current physical therapy practice regarding ACT prescription for patients with AECOPD in Sweden. A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted via a Web-based questionnaire, sent to all (n = 70) hospitals that offer physical therapy service for patients with AECOPD in Sweden. Responses were received from 117 physical therapists (76%) across all sites. ACTs were prescribed for more than half of all patients with an AECOPD by 75% of physical therapists. The most frequently used ACTs were positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices (90%), directed huffing (88%) and cough (71%). Most physical therapists (89%) perceived sputum clearance to be an important aspect of the overall management of patients with AECOPD. The main factors influencing choice of ACT were the ‘degree of dyspnoea or work of breathing’ and ‘access to resources/equipment’. Physical therapists prescribe predominantly PEP-based ACTs for patients with AECOPD in Sweden. Several factors come into consideration that influences the choice of treatment technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalChronic Respiratory Disease
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • acute exacerbation
  • Airway clearance techniques
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • healthcare surveys
  • mucociliary clearance
  • physical therapy modalities

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