Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Pulmonary Medicine and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

The effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Annemarie L Lee123*, Nola Cecins456, Catherine J Hill37, Anne E Holland238, Linda Rautela7, Robert G Stirling109, Phillip J Thompson56, Christine F McDonald113 and Sue Jenkins456

Author Affiliations

1 Physiotherapy, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

2 Department of Physiotherapy, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia

3 Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Melbourne, Australia

4 Physiotherapy Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Australia

5 School of Physiotherapy and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

6 Lung Institute of Western Australia and Centre for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

7 Department of Physiotherapy, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia

8 School of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

9 Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia

10 Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

11 Department of Respiratory Medicine and Sleep, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 2010, 10:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-5

Published: 2 February 2010



Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis is characterised by sputum production, exercise limitation and recurrent infections. Although pulmonary rehabilitation is advocated for this patient group, its effects are unclear. The aims of this study are to determine the short and long term effects of pulmonary rehabilitation on exercise capacity, cough, quality of life and the incidence of acute pulmonary exacerbations.


This randomised controlled trial aims to recruit 64 patients with bronchiectasis from three tertiary institutions. Participants will be randomly allocated to the intervention group (supervised, twice weekly exercise training with regular review of airway clearance therapy) or a control group (twice weekly telephone support). Measurements will be taken at baseline, immediately following the intervention and at six and 12 months following the intervention period by a blinded assessor. Exercise capacity will be measured using the incremental shuttle walk test and the six-minute walk test. Quality of life and health status will be measured using the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire, Leicester Cough Questionnaire, Assessment of Quality of Life Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The rate of hospitalisation will be captured as well as the incidence of acute pulmonary exacerbations using a daily symptom diary.


Results from this study will help to determine the efficacy of supervised twice-weekly pulmonary rehabilitation upon exercise capacity and quality of life in patients with bronchiectasis and will contribute to clinical practice guidelines for physiotherapists in the management of this population.

Trial registration

This study protocol is registered with (NCT00885521).