Safety, tolerability, and efficacy of high-frequency chest wall oscillation in pediatric patients with cerebral palsy and neuromuscular diseases: an exploratory randomized controlled trial

J Child Neurol. 2010 Jul;25(7):815-21. doi: 10.1177/0883073809350223. Epub 2010 Mar 31.


Airway secretions and infections are common in cerebral palsy and neuromuscular diseases. Chest physiotherapy is standard therapy but effort is substantial. High-frequency chest wall oscillation is used in cystic fibrosis but tolerability and safety data in cerebral palsy and neuromuscular disease are limited. A prospective, randomized, controlled trial of high-frequency chest wall oscillation and standard chest physiotherapy was performed in participants with neuromuscular disease or cerebral palsy. Outcome measures included respiratory-related hospitalizations, antibiotic therapy, chest radiographs, and polysomnography. Care-givers were questioned regarding therapy adherence. A total of 28 participants enrolled, 23 completed (12 chest physiotherapy, mean study period 5 months). No adverse outcomes were reported. Adherence to prescribed regimen was higher with high-frequency chest wall oscillation (P = .036). Our data suggest safety, tolerability, and better compliance with high-frequency chest wall oscillation. Improvement in airway clearance may help prevent hospitalizations. Larger controlled trials are required to confirm these results.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / therapy*
  • Chest Wall Oscillation / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents