Role of physiotherapy in the management of chronic lung diseases: An overview of systematic reviews

Garrod R, Lasserson T

Four Cochrane reviews of relevance to physiotherapeutic practice are discussed in this overview. The reviews chosen consider a wide range of interventions commonly used by physiotherapists: breathing exercises, bronchopulmonary hygiene techniques and physical training for peripheral and respiratory muscles.

The reviews show that inspiratory muscle training may improve inspiratory muscle strength; however the clinical relevance of this is unknown.

One review shows that bronchopulmonary hygiene techniques in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis increase sputum production. Frequent exacerbations are associated with increased sputum, suggesting that there may be important therapeutic benefits of improved sputum clearance.

The third review highlights the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in the management of COPD. It is likely that the effects of PR extend to other important outcomes such as hospital (re)admissions.

On the basis of the evidence provided by these reviews, this overview highlights important practice points of relevance to physiotherapists and recommendations for future studies.

Journal of Respiratory Medicine 2007 Sept, 14

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