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Revista Brasileira de Terapia Intensiva

Print version ISSN 0103-507X


GODOY, Vanessa Cristina Waetge Pires de; ZANETTI, Nathalia Mendonca  and  JOHNSTON, Cintia. Manual hyperinflation in airway clearance in pediatric patients: a systematic review. Rev. bras. ter. intensiva [online]. 2013, vol.25, n.3, pp.258-262. ISSN 0103-507X.


To perform an assessment of the available literature on manual hyperinflation as a respiratory physical therapy technique used in pediatric patients, with the main outcome of achieving airway clearance.


We reviewed articles included in the Lilacs (Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences/Literatura Latino Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde), Cochrane Library, Medline (via Virtual Health Library and PubMed), SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library), and PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database) databases from 2002 to 2013 using the following search terms: "physiotherapy (techniques)", "respiratory therapy", "intensive care", and "airway clearance". The selected studies were classified according to the level of evidence and grades of recommendation (method of the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine) by two examiners, while a third examiner repeated the search and analysis and checked the classification of the articles.


Three articles were included for analysis, comprising 250 children (aged 0 to 16 years). The main diagnoses were acute respiratory failure, recovery following heart congenital disease and upper abdominal surgery, bone marrow transplantation, asthma, tracheal reconstruction, brain injury, airway injury, and heterogeneous lung diseases. The studies were classified as having a level of evidence 2C and grade of recommendation C.


Manual hyperinflation appeared useful for airway clearance in the investigated population, although the evidence available in the literature remains insufficient. Therefore, controlled randomized studies are needed to establish the safety and efficacy of manual hyperinflation in pediatric patients. However, manual hyperinflation must be performed by trained physical therapists only.

Keywords : Physical therapy modalities; Insufflation; Airway obstruction; Intensive care units, pediatric.

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