Cardiopulmonary disease is an umbrella termed used to describe disorders of the heart (cardio) and lungs (pulmonary). Physiotherapy plays a big role in the rehabilitation and management of symptoms. Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists work with patients in a variety of settings and treat acute problems like asthma, acute chest infections and trauma chronic cardiac and respiratory conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF) and post-myocardial infarction (MI).
The management of these conditions will vary and will be dependent on many factors but wherever possible conservative and non-invasive methods are favoured with emphasis on self-management. The role of the cardiopulmonary physiotherapist is to educate patients and also to be on hand when self-management is not enough. They have a range of skills and knowledge ranging from manual and breathing techniques to non-invasive ventilation and often use a combination of modalities to aid the clearance of mucus and ease the work of breathing. Physiotherapists can also plan exercise programmes to improve fitness, exercise tolerance and increase lung capacity.
Treatments will vary from client to client but there are guidelines, based on the best evidence available to assist clinicians to find the best the most effective interventions. The British Thoracic Society have recently updated their Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Patients with Bronchiectasis, these along with other guidelines can be found on the Physiopedia page Cardiopulmonary Guidelines. In fact, there is a whole category dedicated to Cardiopulmonary Disorders.
So, find a quiet corner, grab a cup of coffee and check out some of the recently updated guidelines and pages on Physiopedia:
- Cardiopulmonary Clinical Guidelines
- Cardiopulmonary Patient Guides
- Physical Activity and Respiratory Conditions
- Treatment of Respiratory Disorders