Improvement in health status following bronchopulmonary hygiene physical therapy in patients with bronchiectasis.
Mutalithas K., Watkin G., Willig B., Wardlaw A., Pavord ID., Birring SS.
Chronic productive cough is a common symptom in patients with bronchiectasis that is associated with a reduction in health-related quality of life (QOL). Bronchopulmonary hygiene physical therapy (BHPT) is widely prescribed for patients with bronchiectasis, although the evidence for its efficacy is limited. We set out to prospectively evaluate the impact of BHPT on health-related QOL in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. We assessed cough symptoms (0-100mm visual analogue scale; VAS) and cough-related QOL in 53 patients with stable non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis at baseline and >4 weeks after outpatient-based BHPT. Cough specific health status was assessed with the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ; total score range 3-21, higher scores representing better QOL). All patients with bronchiectasis complained of cough as the major symptom and had mean (SEM) FEV(1) of 2.1 (0.1)L. Cough-related health status was reduced at baseline; mean (SEM) LCQ score 14.3 (0.6). There were significant improvements in cough symptoms (mean cough VAS before 43.3 (3.6) vs after 27.5 (3.1); mean difference 15.8; 95% CI of difference 9.6-22; p<0.0001) and cough-related health status after BHPT (mean LCQ total score before 14.2 vs after 17.3; mean difference 3.1; 95% confidence interval of difference 2.4-3.9; p<0.001). A significant improvement was seen in all LCQ health-related domains (physical, psychological and social; all p<0.001). Our findings suggest that bronchopulmonary hygiene physical therapy can lead to a significant improvement in cough-related quality of life.