Chest percussion and postural drainage in patients with bronchiectasis

Chest. 1985 Sep;88(3):360-3. doi: 10.1378/chest.88.3.360.


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have been treated routinely with chest physical therapy for many years in spite of a lack of scientific validation of this procedure. Only recently have the indications for chest physical therapy been clarified. It is currently believed that such therapy is especially beneficial in patients with copious secretions, and that it is less effective in patients with scanty secretions. No study has specifically evaluated the efficacy of chest physical therapy in patients with bronchiectasis. We accordingly evaluated 13 patients with stable bronchiectasis to determine the effects of chest physical therapy on pulmonary function, arterial oxygenation, and sputum production and to assess whether this therapy was associated with any significant side-effects. We found that chest physical therapy was safe and well tolerated and assisted the patients in mobilization of their sputum. However, such therapy had no immediate delayed effects on pulmonary function or oxygen saturation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchiectasis / physiopathology
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy*
  • Drainage
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Percussion
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Sputum / metabolism
  • Thorax
  • Vital Capacity


  • Oxygen