Measuring airway clearance outcomes in bronchiectasis: a review

Measuring airway clearance outcomes in bronchiectasis: a review

Published 29th April 2020

Franks, LJ, Walsh, JR., Hall, K & Morris NR 


While airway clearance techniques (ACTs) are recommended for individuals with bronchiectasis, many trials have demonstrated inconsistent benefits or failed to reach their primary outcome. This review determined the most common clinical and patient-reported outcome measures used to evaluate the efficacy of ACTs in bronchiectasis. A literature search of five databases using relevant keywords and filtering for studies published in English, up until the end of August 2019, was completed. Studies included randomised controlled trials, using crossover or any other trial design, and abstracts. Studies were included where the control was placebo, no intervention, standard care, usual care or an active comparator. Adults with bronchiectasis not related to cystic fibrosis were included. Extracted data comprised study authors, design, duration, intervention, outcome measures and results. The search identified 27 published studies and one abstract. The most common clinical outcome measures were sputum volume (n=23), lung function (n=17) and pulse oximetry (n=9). The most common patient-reported outcomes were health-related quality of life (measured with St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, n=4), cough-related quality of life (measured with Leicester Cough Questionnaire, n=4) and dyspnoea (measured with Borg/modified Borg scale, n=8). Sputum volume, lung function, dyspnoea and health- and cough-related quality of life appear to be the most common clinical and patient-reported measures of airway clearance treatment efficacy.


Publication Type

Journal Article