A noninvasive, radionuclide imaging technique for measuring the rate of mucus clearance in the trachea (RT), was used to study gravitational effects on mucus clearance in 13 patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), average age 17 years; 7 normal, nonsmoking adults, average age 26 years; and a normal subject who was recovering from an acute upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). In the upright position, nine of the CF patients and the subject with URTI demonstrated abnormal tracheal mucus clearance which approached normal when they were placed in a 25° headdown position. The normal subjects and two of the CF patients showed no significant difference in the RT measured in the two positions. The results of the study indicate that the force of gravity can be a major influence on tracheal mucus clearance in CF and URTI subjects. This conclusion supports the use of postural drainage as an effective form of therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.