Airway clearance treatments in bronchiectasis: Feasibility of linking survey results to Registry data and a survey of patients’ and physiotherapists’ practices.

Rebecca McLeese, Katherine O'Neill, B O'Neill, James Chalmers, Jeanette Boyd, Anthony De Soyza, Ryan McChrystal, Megan Crichton, Judy Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Background and objective

There are limited data on airway clearance treatment (ACT) practices. This study aimed to: 1) assess the feasibility of collecting online surveys on ACTs from patients and physiotherapists and linking the patient survey data to outcome data in the Bronch-UK/EMBARC Registry; 2) assess the association between ACT practices and outcome data; and 3) ascertain the factors affecting physiotherapist ACT practices.


Survey methodology was used to collect data from patients with bronchiectasis and physiotherapists in Northern Ireland. Associations between patient survey data and linked Bronch-UK/EMBARC Registry patient outcome data were explored.


It was feasible to conduct an online survey with patients with bronchiectasis and link the data to the Bronch-UK/EMBARC Registry. 13% of patients did not perform ACTs. ACTs were used more often by patients who were symptomatic/had more severe disease compared to those with milder symptoms/disease. Patients used ACTs when they were symptomatic rather than as a preventative management strategy. Physiotherapists generally followed the bronchiectasis guidelines, using the stepwise approach to management.


Our survey provided information about the feasibility of linking online survey and patient registry data. This study provides up-to-date information on ACT practice throughout the course of the disease trajectory as well as insight into the implementation of bronchiectasis guidelines by physiotherapists. Future work should explore how to optimise ACT data collection to maximise the use of real-world ACT data in bronchiectasis research and inform priority ACT research questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages13
JournalERJ Open Research
Issue number1
Early online date22 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 22 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank our funders: Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke. We thank the patient
representatives from NICHS regional respiratory support groups and physiotherapists from
BHSCT who contributed to survey development. Thank you to patients and physiotherapists
who completed the survey. Thank you to each respective NI site Physician (Prof Damian
Downey, Dr Martin Kelly, Dr Maire Drain, Dr Rory Convery) and NICRN co-ordinators and
administrators (Sinead O‟Kane, Dr Kathryn Ferguson, Declan McClintock, Ryan Leslie,
Esther Ramsey, Michelle Spence, Roisin Stone, Maura Anderson, Dr Denise Cosgrove) for
facilitating survey distribution to EMBARC and Bronch-UK patients.
We thank Martyna Korytkowska and Rebecca McGrath for assistance with project
administration. Thank you to Dr Ian Bradbury for statistical advice during grant application
stage. We acknowledge funding to the main Bronch-UK consortium from the Medical
Research Council funding grant MR/L011263/1 and the recruiting sites (
We acknowledge EMBARC registry is a European Respiratory Society Clinical Research


  • airway clearance treatments
  • bronchiectasis
  • physiotherapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Airway clearance treatments in bronchiectasis: Feasibility of linking survey results to Registry data and a survey of patients’ and physiotherapists’ practices.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this