Exercise is commonly used as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques by adults with cystic fibrosis in Australia: a survey

Nathan Ward, Kathy Stiller, Anne E. Holland, the Australian Cystic Fibrosis Exercise Survey group

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Questions: What airway clearance techniques and exercise regimens are used by adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Australia when well or unwell? What proportion of these adults believe that exercise can be used as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques, and how have they come to this belief? What type of exercise is used as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques? Design: Cross-sectional survey at 13 CF centres in Australia, using a purpose-designed questionnaire. Participants: Six hundred and ninety-two adults with CF completed the questionnaire. Outcome measures: The questionnaire included questions about: the participants' current use of traditional airway clearance techniques and exercise, when well and unwell; and beliefs regarding the use of exercise as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques. Results: Coughing, huffing and positive expiratory pressure were the most commonly used airway clearance techniques. Walking, jogging and lifting weights were the most commonly used forms of exercise. Overall, 43% of participants believed that exercise could be used as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques, with 44% having substituted exercise for traditional airway clearance techniques in the previous 3 months. Personal experience was the most commonly reported factor influencing participants' beliefs about the use of exercise as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques. Conclusion: Exercise is commonly used as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques. Physiotherapists should advise patients that whilst there is some research suggesting a possible mechanism for exercise as a form of airway clearance, there are currently no medium-term to long-term data supporting exercise as a stand-alone form of airway clearance. These results suggest that future research to investigate the clinical effectiveness of exercise as a substitute for traditional airway clearance techniques should be a priority. Registration: ACTRN12616000994482.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physiotherapy
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy modalities
  • Respiratory therapy

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