Chest physiotherapy (CPT) is the treatments generally performed by physiotherapists (in Canada) and respiratory therapists whereby breathing is improved by the indirect removal of mucus from the breathing passages of a patient. Other terms used in Australia include respiratory or cardiothoracic physiotherapy.
Techniques include clapping or percussion: the therapist lightly claps the patient's chest, back, and area under the arms. Percussion, while effective in the treatment of infants and children, is no longer extensively used in Australia in adults due to the introduction of more effective and self-management focused treatments. These include, but are not limited to, the use of "flutter" or oscillating positive pressure devices, PEP masks or devices (positive expiratory pressure) as well as specific exercise regimes. The exercises prescribed can include specific respiratory exercises e.g. autogenic drainage, as well as general cardiovascular exercises which assists the body to remove sputum as well as to improve the efficiency of oxygen up-take in muscles.
The utility of chest physiotherapy in pneumonia has not yet been determined.
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