Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies were assessed on four inclusion criteria: (1) an adequately large sample size; (2) a methodology that was reproducible and had face validity; (3) sufficient length to determine immediate and long-term effects of physical therapy treatment; and (4) the use of outcome measures that were appropriate in determining the effectiveness of physical therapy modalities. Three criteria had to be met for the study to be included. The follow-up period of the studies varied from 13 days to 36 months.
Specific interventions included in the review
The physical therapy modalities evaluated were conventional physical therapy (percussion, vibration and postural drainage), exercise, forced expiratory technique (FET), positive expiratory pressure (PEP) mask, autogenic drainage and directed coughing.
Participants included in the review
Children aged up to 18 years with cystic fibrosis.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Outcome measures for the effectiveness of physical therapy were the forced expiratory volume in 3 seconds (FEV3) and the forced expiratory flow from 25 to 75% of the exhaled volume (FEF 25-75%). Fair outcome measures of effectiveness were forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), ratios of FEV1 and forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) for long-term pulmonary status, and radiological results.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors do not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many of the authors performed the selection.