The efficacy of respiratory physiotherapy by combined-PEP (RC-Cornet(R) in combined-PEP-position) was evaluated in a long-term study with the following set up.
Study design: Randomized prospective clinical trial over 2 years in 50 patients with severe COPD (12 f, 38 m, 63,1 y, FEV 1 41 %, DLCO 51 % of the normal). Patients were without infection and exsmokers at begin of the trial. One group was treated only by drug therapy (theophylline, salmeterol, ipratropiumbromide, systemic steroids 5 mg prednisolone equivalent). The second group received the same drug therapy plus physical therapy with the RC-Cornet(R) (oscillating PEP; in combined PEP-position) 3 times daily at least for 5 minutes or whenever needed. Lung function data were controlled every 3 month during first year and every 4 month in the second year. The compliance was checked by theophylline and cortisol blood levels, inspection of the functionality of the RC-Cornet(R) and by questioning the patient about compliance with the therapy.
Results: TGV (% of normal) and airway resistance (measured by bodyplethysmography) decreased significantly in contrast to the "mere" drug therapy (p < 0.0177, p < 0.0179). VC (% of normal) increased significant p < 0.0179 in the RC-Cornet(R) therapy group. In this group significantly less patients (13/24) needed antibiotics in comparison to the "mere" drug group (Chi-Quadrat p < 0.0004). Also the need for hospital care was significantly less in the RC-Cornet(R) group (5/12) in comparison to the drug therapy group (Chi-Quadrat < 0.000765). The length of hospital stay in the two groups was not significantly different: 16.2 +/- 6.3 days in the RC-Cornet(R)-group and 18.3 +/- 4.7 days in the drug therapy-group.
Conclusion: This study proves the efficacy of respiratory physiotherapy with combined-PEP in addition to drug therapy in the management of COPD-patients.