The effects of a long-term treatment of autogenic drainage (AD) and the active cycle of breathing techniques (ACBT) were evaluated in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Thirty clinically stable male COPD patients were randomly assigned to AD or the ACBT treatment for a 20-day treatment period. Patients were assessed through pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gases, a 6-minute walking test, and a modified Borg Scale before, and immediately after the walking test.
Autogenic drainage improved forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, peak expiratory flow rate, forced expiratory volume from 25 to 75%, chronic hypercapnia, arterial oxygenation, exercise performance, and dyspnea perception during exercise. The ACBT increased forced vital capacity, peak expiratory flow rate, arterial oxygenation and exercise performance. Peak expiratory flow rate increased in AD more than in ACBT. In AD treatment, the increase in oxygen saturation was significantly higher than in ACBT treatment. Chronic hypercapnia improved significantly in AD treatment than in ACBT. No differences were found in other lung function parameters.
Autogenic drainage is as effective as the ACBT in cleaning secretions and improving lung functions. These techniques can be used in stable COPD patients according to the patients' and the physiotherapists' preferences.