May 2020 is #CFawareness Month, a time for those affected by cystic fibrosis, their families, healthcare team and supporters to raise awareness of the condition. Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and pancreas, contributing to persistent lung infections and malnutrition. Approximately 70,000 to 100,000 people are currently living with cystic fibrosis worldwide.
Physiotherapists play a significant role in the management of those with cystic fibrosis, including optimising airway clearance techniques and training parents and carers to perform daily prophylactic treatment. Physiotherapists prescribe structured individualised exercise programs to assist with airway clearance, improve strength and fitness, and help manage cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Participation in these physiotherapy programs can improve the quality of life of those with cystic fibrosis.
There is a significant amount of high-quality clinical research to guide the physiotherapy management of people with cystic fibrosis. PEDro currently indexes over 240 clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials evaluating physiotherapy treatment for people with cystic fibrosis.
You may like to review the following practice guidelines, which provide useful summaries for physiotherapists working in this clinical area:
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Cystic fibrosis: diagnosis and management (NG78), 2017
- Flume PA, et al [Cystic Fibrosis Foundation]. Cystic fibrosis pulmonary guidelines: airway clearance therapies. Respir Care 2009;54(4):522-37
- Button BM, et al [The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Leaders in Lung Health]. Physiotherapy for cystic fibrosis in Australia and New Zealand, 2016
The Cochrane Library includes many systematic reviews specific to cystic fibrosis, links to recent reviews are listed below:
- Elkins M, Dentice R. Timing of hypertonic saline inhalation for cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020;Issue 2
- Oliveira VHB, et al. Physical therapies for postural abnormalities in people with cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020;Issue 3
- McIlwaine M, et al. Positive expiratory pressure physiotherapy for airway clearance in people with cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019;Issue 11
- Irons JY, et al. Singing as an adjunct therapy for children and adults with cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019;Issue 7
- Wilson LM, et al. Airway clearance techniques for cystic fibrosis: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019;Issue 1
To keep up-to-date with the latest trials, reviews and guidelines evaluating physiotherapy interventions for people with cystic fibrosis, subscribe to the ‘cardiothoracic’ or ‘chronic respiratory disease’ feed of PEDro’s Evidence in your inbox. Subscription is free.