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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985 Jun 8;290(6483):1703-4.

Chest physiotherapy in primary pneumonia.


One hundred and seventy one patients with primary pneumonia entered a single blind, placebo controlled trial of physiotherapy. Treatment was allocated at random, physiotherapy consisting of postural drainage, external help with breathing, percussion, and vibration and the controls receiving advice on expectoration, deep breathing, and how to exercise to avoid thrombosis. Principles of pharmaceutical management were the same in the two groups. There was no objective evidence that daily physiotherapy helped during the acute phase of the disease. On the contrary, in younger patients, smokers, and patients with interstitial pneumonia physiotherapy appeared to prolong the duration of fever as well as the hospital stay. It is concluded that chest physiotherapy is at best useless in patients with primary infectious pneumonia.

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