Short-Term Effects of High-Frequency Chest Compression and Positive Expiratory Pressure in Patients With Cystic Fibrosis

Valentina Fainardi, Francesco Longo, Silvia Faverzani, Maria Candida Tripodi, Alfredo Chetta, Giovanna Pisi


Background: Cystic fibrosis patients require daily airway clearance therapies. The primary objective of this study was to compare the short-term efficacy of high-frequency chest compression and positive expiratory pressure mask on expectorated sputum, pulmonary function, and oxygen saturation in patients with CF hospitalized for an acute pulmonary exacerbation.

Methods: A controlled randomized cross-over trial with 24 hours between treatments was used. Thirty-four CF patients (26 6.5 years) were included in the study. Before and 30 minutes after each treatment were recorded: pulmonary function testing, oxygen saturation, and perceived dyspnea. Preference for the two devices was assessed.

Results: No statistically significant difference between high-frequency chest compression and positive expiratory pressure mask was found in sputum production and in lung function testing. A reduction in SpO2 was found after positive expiratory pressure mask (98 1.0% versus 97 1.2%; P < 0.001). Both treatments induced a statistically significant increase in Borg scale for dyspnea without differences between them. Patients reported greater satisfaction with positive expiratory pressure mask than with high-frequency chest compression (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: High-frequency chest compression and positive expiratory pressure mask have comparable short-term effects on expectorated sputum and lung function. Although positive expiratory pressure mask was associated with a lower SpO2, it was better tolerated than high-frequency chest compression.



Airway clearance therapies; High-frequency chest compression; Sputum; Cystic fibrosis

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