Physical training may form an important part of the care package for patients with cystic fibrosis.
To determine whether a prescribed regime of physical training produces improvement or prevents deterioration in physiological and clinical outcomes in cystic fibrosis compared to no training.
We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group specialist trials register which comprises references identified from comprehensive electronic database searches, handsearching relevant journals and handsearching abstract books of conference proceedings. Date of the most recent search: August 2001.
All randomised controlled clinical trials in which a prescribed regime of physical training is compared to no physical training in patients with cystic fibrosis.
Two reviewers independently selected trials for inclusion, assessed methodological quality and extracted data.
Of the sixteen trials identified six trials, which included 184 patients, met the inclusion criteria. Exercise tolerance in the short term, during an acute admission was improved in patients who received physical training. In a three year study there was no improvement in exercise tolerance at the end of the study period. Over three years there was a significantly greater mean annual rate of decline in FVC in the control group compared to the exercise group WMD 2.17 (95%CI 0.47, 3.87). Changes in other lung function parameters showed a similar trend, but these were not statistically significant.
Conclusions about the efficacy of physical training in cystic fibrosis are limited by the small size, short duration and incomplete reporting of most of the trials included in this review. Physical training is already part of the care package offered to most patients with cystic fibrosis and there is no evidence to actively discourage this. Further research is needed to assess comprehensively the net benefit of the addition of physical training to the care of cystic fibrosis patients.