CFDB - Cystic Fibrosis DataBase

primary studies published RCT

Chest percussion: Help or hindrance to postural drainage?


Irish Medical Journal

Study design (if review, criteria of inclusion for studies)

RCT, crossover


36 treatment sessions in two patients with cystic fibrosis.


Mechanical and manual chest percussion, as adjuncts to simple postural drainage. The three forms of therapy were randomly applied in 36 treatment sessions, each lasting 30 minutes.

Outcome measures

Sputum clearance; PEFR, FEV1 and FVC

Main results

Sputum clearance during unassisted postural drainage using forced expiration techniques (23.5 (plus or minus) 5.75 grs/30 mins) was significantly better than during 'Equi-Med' percussor assisted drainage (18.95 (plus or minus) 6.72 grs/30 mins) or manual percussion (17.45 (plus or minus) 6.53 grs/30 mins)P<0.05. PEFR, FEV1 and FVC did not alter significantly during any form of therapy.

Authors' conclusions

Neither manual nor mechanical percussion benefits cystic fibrosis (CF) patients experienced in self-administered postural drainage techniques utilising forced expiratory manoeuvres.

Keywords: Airway clearance technique; Drainage; non pharmacological intervention - devices OR physiotherapy; Percussion; Postural Drainage; Chest physiotherapy;