The use of normal saline instillation in the intensive care unit by physiotherapists: a survey of practice in New Zealand

Reeve J.C., Davies N., Freeman J., O’Donovan B.

This study attempted to report the use of normal saline instillation (NSI) in New Zealand intensive care units by physiotherapists. The results showed that despite the controversy over the use of NSI, its use was reported in 79% of the hospital intensive care units with physiotherapists using it 58% of the time in practice. Those who reported never using NSI cited a lack of evidence as the reason for not using it. Technique of instillation, volume of normal saline used, time to suctioning varied widely.

Clinical relevance: Normal saline instillation continues to be used by physiotherapists in New Zealand as a technique to enhance secretion clearance. There is little high quality evidence to substantiate its use.

New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy 2007; 35: 119 – 125

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