A recent study that reviewed the effectiveness of positive expiratory pressure (PEP) physiotherapy devices in clearing airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients showed that PEP devices successfully reduced pulmonary exacerbations. According to Lung Disease News, as PEPs are used extensively among CF patients, the study aimed to evaluate whether PEP devices are better or worse than other forms of chest physiotherapy for airways clearance. The study was performed by examining different references from published sources.

A total of 733 CF patients with varying disease severity ranging from 6 to 47 years of age were included from 26 studies. PEP devices were compared to other methods of chest clearance with treatment duration ranging from one physiotherapy session to 2 years of treatment. Overall, the results of the study suggest that PEPs have similar efficacy as other techniques of chest physiotherapy, such as active cycle of breathing techniques, postural drainage with percussion, and autogenic drainage.

The results also revealed no difference in lung function recorded between CF patients using PEP devices and those employing other forms of chest physiotherapy. However, the Lung Disease News report indicates that patients using PEP devices reported lower exacerbation rates when compared to other techniques. Also, some evidence shows that CF patients tend to prefer PEP devices to other forms of chest physiotherapy.

The studies did demonstrate that PEP devices are safe to use and the only incident case is recorded with infants. PEP devices have the advantage of reducing pulmonary exacerbations in CF patients when compared to other forms of physiotherapy.

The Lung Disease news report notes that the researchers state that patients should be evaluated individually so as to choose the airway clearance method they will best adhere to, and hence will provide the best quality of life in the long term.

Source: Lung Disease News