Current Australian and New Zealand physiotherapy practices in the use of airway clearance techniques in the management of individuals experiencing an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis

Jennifer Phillips, Annemarie Lee, R. Pope, W. Hing

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Introduction/Aim:Airway clearance techniques (ACTs) are recom-mended for people with bronchiectasis both in stable state and during anacute exacerbation. The current use of ACTs by physiotherapists in the man-agement of individuals during an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis isunclear. The aim of this study was to establish what current physiotherapypractices in the use of ACTs in clinical practice in Australia and New Zealandcomprise for people experiencing an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis.Methods:A cross sectional online survey was employed, dissemi-nated by the peak professional bodies in both Australia and New Zealandbetween August 2016 and April 2017. Participants were physiotherapistswho had treated adults or children diagnosed with an acute exacerbationof non-cysticfibrosis bronchiectasis in the last 12 months.Results:The survey was accessed by 130 physiotherapists and121 of those deemed themselves eligible and consented to participate.Most participants (89%) reported prescribing ACTs for up to 81-100% ofindividuals during an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis. The mostcommonly used ACTs with adults were directed huffing (92%), exercise(89%) and the active cycle of breathing technique (89%). The most com-monly used ACTs for paediatric patients were: new born-3 years - percus-sion (85%) and positioning (77%); 4-10 years - directed huffing (100%)and exercise (85%); 11-18 years - directed huffing (92%) and exercise(77%), active cycle of breathing technique (77%) and positive expiratorypressure therapy (77%). The majority (97%) of participants felt that furtherresearch was required regarding the use of ACTs with individuals with anacute exacerbation of bronchiectasis.Conclusions:This survey demonstrates that ACTs are routinelyused as part of physiotherapy management of adults and childrenexperiencing an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis, with the most com-mon techniques in adults being components of ACBT and physical exer-cise. In children, technique choice was dependent on age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-170
Number of pages1
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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