It needs to be stressed that each patient is an individual, and that there are many different kinds of physiotherapy to suit each individual.

Mucus traps dust and bacteria in the lungs which is then swept out by normal cilia.

However, in PCD mucus stays in the lung because the cilia do not work properly. In a normal person the cilia in the lung act like an escalator on the underground, but in PCD the cilia act like an escalator which is not moving. Therefore physiotherapy is needed to get rid of this mucus.

If PCD is managed well, then a normal and active life can follow. It is important to break the cycle of sputum getting trapped which causes infection and inflammation. This in turn causes airway damage, which then leads to more sputum being trapped.

Physiotherapy can help enormously to break this cycle, but lung damage can be irreversible. It is important to keep the chest clear which will reduce infection. Coughing is not enough, sputum needs help to move up.

Plugging of the airways occurs if sputum is not cleared which can cause inflammation, pain, infection, breathlessness and wheeze. Physio helps by delaying lung damage, reducing wheeze, reducing the rattle of cough, and helps prevents infection and inflammation.

Guidelines produced by the British Thoracic Society and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care can be found here

Case Study