Respiratory physiotherapy is part of the routine management of patients with cystic fibrosis. It normally consists of airway clearance techniques and exercise training. The evidence of such interventions has been questioned. Nevertheless, the lack of evidence should not be interpreted as lack of benefit. Instead, attention to methodological issues, such as the selection of the outcome measures, is needed, as they may hamper the establishment of the effectiveness of respiratory physiotherapy techniques. Hence, this chapter presents and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of conventional and emerging outcome measures possibly to be used (i) in clinical practice before, during and after each session of respiratory physiotherapy to monitor its effectiveness; (ii) before and after the respiratory physiotherapy treatment (i.e., normally characterised by weeks of intervention) and (iii) in applied research in respiratory physiotherapy used in the management for cystic fibrosis. A comprehensive overview of the available outcome measures is provided, with particular emphasis on their strengths and limitations that should be recognised when interpreting the results.
Part of the book: Cystic Fibrosis in the Light of New Research