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Airway clearance techniques for bronchiectasis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (71st percentile)


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234 Mendeley
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Airway clearance techniques for bronchiectasis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008351.pub3
Pubmed ID

Annemarie L Lee, Angela T Burge, Anne E Holland


People with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis commonly experience chronic cough and sputum production, features that may be associated with progressive decline in clinical and functional status. Airway clearance techniques (ACTs) are often prescribed to facilitate expectoration of sputum from the lungs, but the efficacy of these techniques in a stable clinical state or during an acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis is unclear. Primary: to determine effects of ACTs on rates of acute exacerbation, incidence of hospitalisation and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in individuals with acute and stable bronchiectasis. Secondary: to determine whether:• ACTs are safe for individuals with acute and stable bronchiectasis; and• ACTs have beneficial effects on physiology and symptoms in individuals with acute and stable bronchiectasis. We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials from inception to November 2015 and PEDro in March 2015, and we handsearched relevant journals. Randomised controlled parallel and cross-over trials that compared an ACT versus no treatment, sham ACT or directed coughing in participants with bronchiectasis. We used standard methodological procedures as expected by The Cochrane Collaboration. Seven studies involving 105 participants met the inclusion criteria of this review, six of which were cross-over in design. Six studies included adults with stable bronchiectasis; the other study examined clinically stable children with bronchiectasis. Three studies provided single treatment sessions, two lasted 15 to 21 days and two were longer-term studies. Interventions varied; some control groups received a sham intervention and others were inactive. The methodological quality of these studies was variable, with most studies failing to use concealed allocation for group assignment and with absence of blinding of participants and personnel for outcome measure assessment. Heterogeneity between studies precluded inclusion of these data in the meta-analysis; the review is therefore narrative.One study including 20 adults that compared an airway oscillatory device versus no treatment found no significant difference in the number of exacerbations at 12 weeks (low-quality evidence). Data were not available for assessment of the impact of ACTs on time to exacerbation, duration or incidence of hospitalisation or total number of hospitalised days. The same study reported clinically significant improvements in HRQoL on both disease-specific and cough-related measures. The median difference in the change in total St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) score over three months in this study was 7.5 units (P value = 0.005 (Wilcoxon)). Treatment consisting of high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) or a mix of ACTs prescribed for 15 days significantly improved HRQoL when compared with no treatment (low-quality evidence). Two studies reported mean increases in sputum expectoration with airway oscillatory devices in the short term of 8.4 mL (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.4 to 13.4 mL) and in the long term of 3 mL (P value = 0.02). HFCWO improved forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) by 156 mL and forced vital capacity (FVC) by 229.1 mL when applied for 15 days, but other types of ACTs showed no effect on dynamic lung volumes. Two studies reported a reduction in pulmonary hyperinflation among adults with non-positive expiratory pressure (PEP) ACTs (difference in functional residual capacity (FRC) of 19%, P value < 0.05; difference in total lung capacity (TLC) of 703 mL, P value = 0.02) and with airway oscillatory devices (difference in FRC of 30%, P value < 0.05) compared with no ACTs. Low-quality evidence suggests that ACTs (HFCWO, airway oscillatory devices or a mix of ACTs) reduce symptoms of breathlessness and cough and improve ease of sputum expectoration compared with no treatment (P value < 0.05). ACTs had no effect on gas exchange, and no studies reported effects of antibiotic usage. Among studies exploring airway oscillating devices, investigators reported no adverse events. ACTs appear to be safe for individuals (adults and children) with stable bronchiectasis and may account for improvements in sputum expectoration, selected measures of lung function, symptoms and HRQoL. The role of these techniques in acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis is unknown. In view of the chronic nature of bronchiectasis, additional data are needed to establish the short-term and long-term clinical value of ACTs for patient-important outcomes and for long-term clinical parameters that impact disease progression in individuals with stable bronchiectasis, allowing further guidance on prescription of specific ACTs for people with bronchiectasis.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 234 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 4 2%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Norway 1 <1%
Portugal 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 226 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 39 17%
Student > Bachelor 32 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 24 10%
Researcher 19 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 14 6%
Other 61 26%
Unknown 45 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 86 37%
Nursing and Health Professions 44 19%
Social Sciences 6 3%
Psychology 6 3%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 5 2%
Other 29 12%
Unknown 58 25%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 31. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 November 2019.
All research outputs
of 15,476,599 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,199 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 365,768 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 220 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,476,599 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,199 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 23.1. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 365,768 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 220 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.