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BACKGROUND: Lung clearance index (LCI), a measure of ventilation inhomogeneity derived from a multiple-breath washout test, is a promising tool for assessing airway function in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. However, it is unknown whether ventilation inhomogeneity could improve after successful elimination of excessive secretions within bronchiectasis. The objective of this work was to assess the short-term effects of lung secretion clearance using the autogenic drainage technique on standard lung function tests and LCI in subjects with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.
METHODS: Nitrogen-based multiple-breath washout, spirometry, and body plethysmography tests were performed 30 min before autogenic drainage in adults with stable non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. The autogenic drainage session was followed by a 5-min break, after which the tests were repeated in the same order. Sputum expectorated during autogenic drainage was quantified as dry weight and correlated with change between post- and pre-measurements (Δ). Paired t test or Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare pre- and post-autogenic drainage measurement outcomes. A P value of ≤.05 was considered as statistically significant.
RESULTS: Twenty-four subjects were studied (18 females, median age [range]: 65 [21–81] y). Mean ± SD LCI significantly improved after autogenic drainage (10.88 ± 2.62 vs 10.53 ± 2.35, P = .042). However, only 20% of subjects with mucus hyperproduction during autogenic drainage had a ΔLCI that exceeded measurement variability. The percent of predicted slow vital capacity (SVC%) also slightly improved (88.7 ± 19.3% vs 90 ± 19.1%, P = .02). ΔLCI was inversely related to dry sputum weight (r = −.48, P = .02) and ΔSVC% (r = −.64, P = .001). ΔSVC% also correlated with dry sputum weight (r = 0.46, P = .02).
CONCLUSIONS: In adults with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and mucus hypersecretion, autogenic drainage improved ventilation inhomogeneity. LCI change may be the result of the maximum recruited lung volume and the amount of cleared mucus secretion.
- chest physiotherapy
- airway clearance technique
- autogenic drainage
- lung clearance index
- lung function tests
- Correspondence: William Poncin PT, MSc, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Avenue Hippocrate 10, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: .
The authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest.
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