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Chron Respir Dis. 2004;1(3):127-30.

Airway clearance in bronchiectasis: a randomized crossover trial of active cycle of breathing techniques (incorporating postural drainage and vibration) versus test of incremental respiratory endurance.

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  • 1School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, UK.



The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of the test of incremental respiratory endurance (TIRE) with active cycle of breathing techniques (ACBT) [incorporating postural drainage (PD) and vibration] as methods of airway clearance in adults with bronchiectasis.


A randomized crossover study in which a single session of ACBT (incorporating PD and vibration) was compared to a single session of TIRE was carried out in 20 patients (14 female) with stable, productive bronchiectasis.


Weight of sputum (treatment plus 30 min) was the primary outcome measure recorded. Pre- and post-treatment measures of lung function and SpO2 were also recorded.


All 20 patients were stable during the study period. Sputum weight expectorated during and 30 min post-ACBT (incorporating PD and vibration) treatment was significantly greater than the sputum weight expectorated during and 30 min post-TIRE treatment [mean difference 2.44 g (95% CI 0.43-4.45)].


ACBT (incorporating PD and vibration) is a more effective method of airway clearance in bronchiectasis than TIRE during single treatment sessions.

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