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      Safety and effectiveness of the high-frequency chest wall oscillation vs intrapulmonary percussive ventilation in patients with severe COPD

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          Chest physiotherapy is an important tool in the treatment of COPD. Intrapulmonary percussive ventilation (IPV) and high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) are techniques designed to create a global percussion of the lung which removes secretions and probably clears the peripheral bronchial tree. We tested the hypothesis that adding IPV or HFCWO to the best pharmacological therapy (PT) may provide additional clinical benefit over chest physiotherapy in patients with severe COPD.


          Sixty patients were randomized into three groups (20 patients in each group): IPV group (treated with PT and IPV), PT group with (treated with PT and HFCWO), and control group (treated with PT alone). Primary outcome measures included results on the dyspnea scale (modified Medical Research Council) and Breathlessness, Cough, and Sputum scale (BCSS), as well as an evaluation of daily life activity (COPD Assessment Test [CAT]). Secondary outcome measures were pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gas analysis, and hematological examinations. Moreover, sputum cell counts were performed at the beginning and at the end of the study.


          Patients in both the IPV group and the HFCWO group showed a significant improvement in the tests of dyspnea and daily life activity evaluations (modified Medical Research Council scale, BCSS, and CAT) compared to the control group, as well as in pulmonary function tests (forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity%, total lung capacity, residual volume, diffusing lung capacity monoxide, maximal inspiratory pressure, maximal expiratory pressure) and arterial blood gas values. However, in the group comparison analysis for the same variables between IPV group and HFCWO group, we observed a significant improvement in the IPV group maximal inspiratory pressure, maximal expiratory pressure, BCSS, and CAT. Similar results were observed in changes of sputum cytology with reduction of inflammatory cells (neutrophils and macrophages).


          The two techniques improved daily life activities and lung function in patients with severe COPD. IPV demonstrated a significantly greater effectiveness in improving some pulmonary function tests linked to the small bronchial airways obstruction and respiratory muscle strength and scores on health status assessment scales (BCSS and CAT) as well as a reduction of sputum inflammatory cells compared with HFCWO.

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          Most cited references 57

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          The COPD assessment test (CAT): response to pulmonary rehabilitation. A multicentre, prospective study.

          The COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) assessment test (CAT) is a recently introduced, simple to use patient-completed quality of life instrument that contains eight questions covering the impact of symptoms in COPD. It is not known how the CAT score performs in the context of clinical pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes or what the minimum clinically important difference is. The introduction of the CAT score as an outcome measure was prospectively studied by PR programmes across London. It was used alongside other measures including the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire, the Clinical COPD Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression score, the Medical Research Council (MRC) dyspnoea score and a range of different walking tests. Patients completed a 5-point anchor question used to assess overall response to PR from 'I feel much better' to 'I feel much worse'. Data were available for 261 patients with COPD participating in seven programmes: mean (SD) age 69.0 (9.0) years, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) 51.1 (18.7) % predicted, MRC score 3.2 (1.0). Mean change in CAT score after PR was 2.9 (5.6) points, improving by 3.8 (6.1) points in those scoring 'much better' (n=162), and by 1.3(4.5) in those who felt 'a little better' (n=88) (p=0.002). Only eight individuals reported no difference after PR and three reported feeling 'a little worse', so comparison with these smaller groups was not possible. The CAT score is simple to implement as an outcome measure, it improves in response to PR and can distinguish categories of response.
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            Current concepts in targeting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease pharmacotherapy: making progress towards personalised management.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common, complex, and heterogeneous disorder that is responsible for substantial and growing morbidity, mortality, and health-care expense worldwide. Of imperative importance to decipher the complexity of COPD is to identify groups of patients with similar clinical characteristics, prognosis, or therapeutic needs, the so-called clinical phenotypes. This strategy is logical for research but might be of little clinical value because clinical phenotypes can overlap in the same patient and the same clinical phenotype could result from different biological mechanisms. With the goal to match assessment with treatment choices, the latest iteration of guidelines from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease reorganised treatment objectives into two categories: to improve symptoms (ie, dyspnoea and health status) and to decrease future risk (as predicted by forced expiratory volume in 1 s level and exacerbations history). This change thus moves treatment closer to individualised medicine with available bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs. Yet, future treatment options are likely to include targeting endotypes that represent subtypes of patients defined by a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. Specific biomarkers of these endotypes would be particularly useful in clinical practice, especially in patients in which clinical phenotype alone is insufficient to identify the underlying endotype. A few series of potential COPD endotypes and biomarkers have been suggested. Empirical knowledge will be gained from proof-of-concept trials in COPD with emerging drugs that target specific inflammatory pathways. In every instance, specific endotype and biomarker efforts will probably be needed for the success of these trials, because the pathways are likely to be operative in only a subset of patients. Network analysis of human diseases offers the possibility to improve understanding of disease pathobiological complexity and to help with the development of new treatment alternatives and, importantly, a reclassification of complex diseases. All these developments should pave the way towards personalised treatment of patients with COPD in the clinic.
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              The assessment of maximal respiratory mouth pressures in adults.

              Maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) and maximal expiratory pressure (MEP) are simple, convenient, and noninvasive indices of respiratory muscle strength at the mouth, but standards are not clearly established. We review recent literature, update the 2002 American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement, and propose as the best choice using a flanged mouthpiece for reference values and lower limit of normal (LLN) values as a function of age for adults age up to about 70 years. Because male pressures are higher than female and MEP exceeds MIP, we present 4 linear regression reference equations as a function of age for adults age up to approximately 70 years: Male MIP=120-(0.41xage), and male MIP LLN=62-(0.15xage). Male MEP=174-(0.83xage), and male MEP LLN=117-(0.83xage). Female MIP=108-(0.61xage), and female MIP LLN=62-(0.50xage). Female MEP=131-(0.86xage), and female MEP LLN=95-(0.57xage). (Pressure in cm H2O and age in years.) We discuss normal values in older subjects, estimation of LLN values, and the relationship between vital capacity and respiratory muscle strength, and offer a guide to interpretation of maximal pressure measurements. The approach should allow direct implementation of MIP and MEP in a pulmonary function laboratory.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                16 February 2018
                : 13
                : 617-625
                [1 ]Respiratory Diseases Unit, Hospital of Sestri Levante, Sestri Levante, Italy
                [2 ]Rehabilitation Unit, ASL4 Chiavarese, Chiavari, Italy
                [3 ]Statistics Unit, ASL4 Chiavarese, Chiavari, Italy
                [4 ]Health Medicine Unit, Hospital of Sestri Levante, Sestri Levante, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Antonello Nicolini, Respiratory Diseases Unit, General Hospital, Via Terzi 43 – 16039, Sestri Levante, Italy, Tel +39 018 532 9145, Fax +39 018 532 9935, Email antonellonicolini@
                © 2018 Nicolini et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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