BACKGROUND: Chest physiotherapy is an important tool in the treatment of bronchiectasis. High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) is a technique designed to create a global percussion of the lung which moves secretions and probably clears the peripheral bronchial tree. We propose the comparison between an existing device (SmartVest) and a new device (RespIn 11).
METHODS: Sixty patients were randomized into three groups: a group was treated with SmartVest, a group with RespIn 11, and a group with pharmacological therapy alone. Primary outcome measures included exacerbations at 3, 6 and 12 months after the end of treatment. Secondary outcome measures were pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gas analysis (ABG), and hematological examinations, cough, dyspnea, health and quality of life scores (Bronchiectasis Health Questionnaire [BHQ], Breathlessness, Cough, and Sputum Scale [BCSS], COPD Assessment Test [CAT], Leicester Cough Questionnaire [LCT]). A 5-point Likert scale was used to evaluate patient's preference.
RESULTS: Both patients in the HFCWO groups showed a significant improvement in the tests of dyspnea, cough and health and quality of life score evaluations (BHQ, BCSS, CAT, LCT) compared to the control group, but not in pulmonary function tests and ABG. Only RespIn 11 significantly reduced exacerbations in comparison with the control group. RespIn 11 also had a higher score regarding patients' preference.
CONCLUSIONS: The two machines have improved health and quality of life scores in patients with bronchiectasis. RespIn 11 also demonstrated a significant lowering of exacerbations and a better patient acceptance.