Chest physiotherapy in cystic fibrosis: short-term effects of autogenic drainage preceded by wet inhalation of saline versus autogenic drainage preceded by intrapulmonary percussive ventilation with saline

Respiration. 2008;76(2):175-80. doi: 10.1159/000111818. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


Background: Chest physiotherapy has been used for many years to assist in the removal of abnormal viscid bronchial secretions in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

Objectives: This study compared the short-term effects of two physiotherapy regimens in patients with CF: autogenic drainage (AD) preceded by either saline inhalation ('saline(NEB) + AD') or by intrapulmonary percussive ventilation (IPV) with saline ('saline(IPV) + AD').

Methods: In a randomized crossover design, 20 clinically stable CF patients with similar pulmonary function at baseline received either 'saline(NEB) + AD' or 'saline(IPV) + AD' on 2 consecutive days. Transcutaneous oxygen saturation, heart rate, Borg dyspnea score and mucus wet weight were evaluated after 15 min of either saline(NEB) or saline(IPV), and after a subsequent 30 min of AD.

Results: There were no significant changes in oxygen saturation, heart rate or Borg score at any point of either physiotherapy intervention. There was no significant difference in sputum wet weight recovered with either saline(NEB) (2.2 +/- 1.8 g, mean +/- SD) or saline(IPV) (1.7 +/- 1.9 g) alone. Subsequent AD did produce significantly greater amounts of sputum wet weight (p < 0.0001 for both) than in the initial saline delivery period, yet the amount of wet weight was similar irrespective of whether AD was preceded by saline(NEB) (9.7 +/- 6.5 g) or saline(IPV) (11.6 +/- 7.3 g).

Conclusions: Recovered sputum weight is similar whether AD is preceded by saline(NEB) or saline(IPV). The much greater amount of mucus obtained during the AD period than during the saline delivery period warrants further investigation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Dyspnea / therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oximetry
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage*
  • Sputum


  • Sodium Chloride