What is the role of chest physiotherapy in the treatment of smoke inhalation injury?

Updated: Oct 15, 2021
  • Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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As with many respiratory conditions, the use of chest physiotherapy is widely accepted in inhalation injury but remains unproven in controlled trials. The use of percutaneous cupping and postural drainage seem reasonable to clear airways of cellular debris and soot, thereby preventing atelectasis and obstruction. Obviously, care must be taken in attempting this in the presence of significant chest wall burns.

Encourage extubated patients to cough and deep breathe. In patients who are intubated, use gentle suctioning to remove mucus, debris, and sloughed epithelium. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy may be helpful in removing the debris and in facilitating pulmonary toilet.

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