Cardiorespiratory function before and after chest physiotherapy in mechanically ventilated patients with post-traumatic respiratory failure

Crit Care Med. 1985 Jun;13(6):483-6. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198506000-00009.


Chest physiotherapy (CPT) is used frequently in the ICU, but there is little available information that quantitates its effect on cardiac or respiratory function. Nineteen mechanically ventilated patients with post-traumatic respiratory failure were studied before, immediately after, and 2 h after CPT was used to manage secretion retention. Cardiac index was unchanged, but there was an immediate decrease in intrapulmonary shunt, followed 2 h later by an increase in lung/thorax compliance. We did not find the reduced cardiac output reported by others. The reasons for this may include use of different CPT techniques, a young patient population (mean age 32.4 yr), and mechanical ventilation with positive end-expiratory pressure. CPT did not produce the deleterious cardiopulmonary changes associated with bronchoscopy, and it reduced retained lung secretions without producing hypoxemia. Intrapulmonary shunt and lung/thorax compliance were significantly improved, but the long-term clinical effect of these changes is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Cardiac Output
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Suction
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications


  • Oxygen