Assisted autogenic drainage in infants and young children hospitalized with uncomplicated pneumonia, a pilot study

Lieselotte Corten*, Jennifer Jelsma, Anri Human, Sameer Rahim, Brenda M. Morrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Pneumonia is the most important respiratory problem in low-to-middle income countries. Airway clearance therapy continues to be used in children with pneumonia and secretion retention; however, there is lack of evidence to support or reject this treatment. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the efficacy and safety of assisted autogenic drainage (AAD) compared to standard nursing care in children hospitalized with uncomplicated pneumonia. Methods: A single-blinded pilot RCT was conducted on 29 children (median age 3.5 months, IQR 1.5–9.4) hospitalized with uncomplicated pneumonia. The intervention group received standard nursing care with additional bi-daily AAD, for 10 to 30 min. The control group only received standard nursing care, unless otherwise deemed necessary by the physician or physiotherapist. The primary outcome measure was duration of hospitalization. The secondary outcome measures included days of fever and supplemental oxygen support; respiratory rate (RR) and heart rate adjusted for age; RR and oxygen saturation pre-, post-, and 1-hr post-treatment; oxygen saturation; adverse events; and mortality. Results: No difference was found for duration of hospitalization (median 7.5 and 7.0 days for the control and intervention groups, respectively); however, Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed a strong tendency towards a shorter time to discharge in the intervention group (p =.06). No significant differences were found for the other outcome measures at time of discharge. No adverse events were reported. Within the intervention group, a significant reduction in RR adjusted for age was found. Discussion: As no adverse events were reported, and AAD did not prolong hospitalization; AAD might be considered as safe and effective in young children with uncomplicated pneumonia. However, a larger multicentred RCT is warranted to determine the efficacy of AAD compared to standard nursing care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1690
JournalPhysiotherapy Research International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • pediatrics
  • pilot study
  • pneumonia
  • randomized controlled trial
  • respiratory therapy


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