Physiotherapy management of cystic fibrosis

Chron Respir Dis. 2005;2(3):139-49. doi: 10.1191/1479972305cd078ra.


For many years physiotherapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) was synonymous with a daily routine of postural drainage and percussion. Improved longevity and a desire for independence, together with a clearer understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, has led to the development of many airway clearance techniques. The contribution of 'chest' physiotherapy remained unchallenged until recent times when lack of robust evidence and the presentation of asymptomic infants and adults led some physiotherapists to question this traditional approach. As survival increases into the fourth and fifth decade unique complications have evolved and physiotherapy management is challenged with nonrespiratory aspects of treatment. This review will consider the evidence for, and current practice of airway clearance, the value of exercise and the emerging problems of musculoskeletal complications and incontinence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*