Airway clearance devices in cystic fibrosis

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2007 Mar;8(1):17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2007.02.003. Epub 2007 Mar 21.


Clearance of infected airway secretions is essential to preserve lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Although the value of regular airway clearance treatments has been shown in many studies, adherence to the prescribed treatments is not very good (see Making airway clearance successful, pp. 000-000). In the past the only method available was conventional chest physiotherapy (CCPT; also known as manual percussion and postural drainage). CCPT remains the 'gold standard' of airway clearance methods and may be the best choice for some patients, such as infants and young children. However, the many newer methods of airway clearance available now allow CF patients and their families to choose the techniques and devices that best suits them. Most of the newer airway clearance devices have been studied in comparison to standard chest physiotherapy and most studies show no advantage of one method over another. This review will describe newer airway clearance devices available for CF patients and discuss evidence for the effectiveness of these devices compared to standard chest physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chest Wall Oscillation / instrumentation*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation*