The effect of forced expirations on mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic bronchitis and in healthy subjects

Clin Physiol. 1991 Sep;11(5):439-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097x.1991.tb00816.x.


Animal studies have shown that frequent coughing may damage the mucociliary apparatus in flow-limiting segments of the central airways. To determine whether mucociliary clearance in humans is affected by repeated dynamic compression associated with forced expirations, we measured pulmonary deposition and mucociliary clearance for 2 h of inhaled [99Tcm]albumin. The subjects inhaled [99Tcm]albumin on 2 study days (randomized) using (A) slow inspirations and forced expirations, while inhalation using (B) forced inspirations and slow expirations served as control. The study was conducted using 10 patients with chronic hypersecretory/obstructive bronchitis and six normal subjects. We found that inhalation of [99Tcm]albumin by the two manoeuvres (A and B) resulted in similar patterns of aerosol deposition. There was no significant difference in retention of radioactivity in the central lung region at 1 h in the patients with chronic bronchitis after inhalation with manoeuvre A (102%) and with manoeuvre B (91.5%), or in the healthy subjects after manoeuvre A (74%) and manoeuvre B (77%). There was also no difference in the retention at 2 h or in overall mucociliary clearance in any of the groups. We conclude that dynamic compression in the central airways associated with forced expiration does not affect bronchial clearance in the airways of healthy subjects or in patients with chronic bronchitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchitis / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucociliary Clearance*
  • Mucus / physiology
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Radiography
  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin
  • Trachea / diagnostic imaging


  • Technetium Tc 99m Aggregated Albumin