Objectives: The efficacy of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation, in addition to standard chest physical treatments, was investigated as a first-line intervention for patients with neuromuscular diseases with respiratory tract infections and airway mucous encumbrance.
Design: The short-term outcomes of 11 consecutive neuromuscular disease patients with respiratory tract infections and tracheobronchial mucous encumbrance who were administered mechanical insufflation-exsufflation and conventional chest physical treatments in an intensive care unit were compared with the outcomes of 16 historical matched controls who had received chest physical treatments alone. Treatment failure was defined as the need for cricothyroid "minitracheostomy" or endotracheal intubation, despite treatment. The number of subjects administered bronchoscopy-assisted aspiration during the hospital stay was also compared.
Results: Treatment failure was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the mechanical insufflation-exsufflation group than in the conventional chest physical treatments group (2/11 vs. 10/16 cases). The use of bronchoscopy-assisted aspiration was similar in the two groups (5/11 vs. 6/16 cases). Mechanical insufflation-exsufflation did not produce serious side effects and was well tolerated by all subjects.
Conclusions: Provision of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation in combination with standard chest physical treatments may improve the management of airway mucous encumbrance in neuromyopathic patients; its use should be included in the noninvasive approach to treatment of respiratory tract infections with impaired mucous clearance.