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Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) for Children

Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) for Children

Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) is one of the common exercises in paediatric units. It is mainly
conducted by nurses, respiratory therapists, and respiratory therapists. CPT refers to manual
percussion over the posterior and anterior lung fields. This is aimed at loosening secretions
from the bronchial walls, facilitating the movement of secretions out of the airways through
coughing. This helps clearance of the airways, which decreases difficulty in breathing thus
facilitating gas exchange and reduces the length of hospitalization (Lisy, 2014).
Despite its increased application in the paediatric ward, there is insufficient information that
supports the effectiveness of these interventions in management of asthma, pneumonia, and
bronchiolitis or as a prophylactic therapy for the management of atelectasis. For instance, one
study found that use of CPT to manage pneumonia is limited as they lacked defined inclusion
criteria, and failed to demonstrate reduction of illness or fever. Similar studies have been
found in bronchiolitis. Additionally, CPT is associated with risks including, development of
atelectasis, intraventricular haemorrhage, rib fractures and increased pain especially in post-
operative patients (Makic, Rauen, Kimmith, and Fisk, 2015).
The healthcare providers have the responsibility to ensure that they deliver cost effective and
evidence based care to all the patients. Evidence based research indicates that patient’s CPT
tolerance, signs and symptoms must be evaluated before integrating CPT as a potential
treatment intervention. In patients with severe or unstable conditions, EBP supports the use
of airway suctioning as the most effective strategy for airway clearance. Therefore, there is
need to conduct thorough studies focusing on methodological aspects using an appropriate
sample size in order to identify evidence that will justify or critique the application of chest
physiotherapy in paediatric departments (Lisy, 2014).

Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) for Children
Lisy, K. (2014). Chest Physiotherapy for pneumonia in children. American Journal of
Nursing, 114(5), 16.
Makic, M.B., Rauen, C., Kimmith, J., and Fisk, A. (2015). Continuing to challenge practice
to be evidence based. Critical Care Nurse 35(2), 39-50.

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