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Comparison of settings used for high-frequency chest-wall compression in cystic fibrosis

, : Comparison of settings used for high-frequency chest-wall compression in cystic fibrosis. Respiratory Care 55(6): 695-701

Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients commonly use a high-frequency chest-wall compression (HFCWC) device for airway clearance that generates oscillatory flow with a sine-wave configuration. Typical HFCWC settings combine a lower Vest inflation pressure setting (eg, 5 on the Vest's arbitrary 1-10 scale for the setting that controls the background pressure of the inflatable vest) with mid-range frequency (14-16 Hz) (lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC). To determine whether HFCWC with higher pressure settings (6-10 on the Hill-Rom Vest's arbitrary 1-10 scale) combined with variable mid-frequencies (8, 9, and 10 Hz, plus 18, 19, and 20 Hz) (higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC) results in greater sputum expectoration than lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC. This was a controlled randomized crossover study. Sixteen clinically stable, adult CF patients participated. Patients performed airway clearance with HFCWC, once each with lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC and higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC, on separate occasions. All sputum produced during each session was collected. Patients completed pulmonary function tests before and after each session. Median sputum wet weight was greater with higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC than with lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC (6.4 g, range 0.49-22.0 g, versus 4.8 g, range 0.24-15.0 g, P = .02). Dry sputum weight differences did not reach statistical significance (higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC 0.20 g, range 0.009-0.62 g, lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC 0.12 g, range 0.0001-1.0 g, P = .23). Higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC and lower-pressure/mid-frequency HFCWC resulted in similar increases in FEV(1) (70 mL vs 90 mL, P = .21) and forced vital capacity (80 mL vs 80 mL, P = .94). Post-therapy sputum viscoelastic properties did not differ. Patients perceived the 2 regimens as equally comfortable and effective (P = .35 and P = .35, respectively). In adult CF patients, single-session higher-pressure/variable-frequency HFCWC resulted in greater sputum expectoration by wet weight, but not other differences, compared to the commonly used lower-pressure/mid-frequency settings. Longer-term comparisons are needed in a larger, more diverse population to determine whether sustained use of the higher-pressure/variable-frequency settings results in clinically important differences in outcomes.


PMID: 20507651

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