Chest physical therapy in acute viral bronchiolitis: an updated review

Respir Care. 2013 Sep;58(9):1541-5. doi: 10.4187/respcare.01890. Epub 2013 Jan 3.


We describe the various therapies for infant acute viral bronchiolitis and the contradictory results obtained with chest physical therapy. The treatment target is bronchial obstruction, which is a multifactorial phenomenon that includes edema, bronchoconstriction, and increased mucus production, with a clinical grading defined as severe, moderate, or mild. Chest physical therapy is revisited in its various modalities, according to preliminary scoring of the disease.

Keywords: airway mucus clearance; bronchial obstruction; chest physical therapy; infant acute viral bronchiolitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / prevention & control
  • Algorithms
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / physiopathology
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / therapy*
  • Edema / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic