Research Study Abstract

A randomised controlled trial to investigate the use of high-frequency airway oscillations as training to improve dyspnoea in COPD

  • Published on July 29, 2019

Introduction Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by expiratory flow limitation resulting in symptomatic dyspnoea, sputum retention and ventilation heterogeneity. Changes in breathing mechanics affect the ability of respiratory muscles to respond to the ventilatory demands, increasing the sensation of dyspnoea. A high-frequency airway oscillating device has been developed to combine respiratory muscle training and oscillations to improve dyspnoea and sputum retention within COPD.

Methods and analysis
Patients with symptomatic COPD (Medical Research Council Breathlessness scale grade ⩾2) will be recruited to a double-blind, randomised, sham-controlled trial. Both groups will follow an 8-week intervention phase using the device three times per day for 5 min at a time. This will be recorded in a self-reported diary. The device applies a flow resistive load and oscillations for combined training. Those receiving the sham device will follow the same protocol; however, the mechanism of action will be removed from the device. Improvements in the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire-Dyspnoea domain will be the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcomes will explore respiratory muscle function, health-related quality of life, exercise capacity and physical activity. The Lung Clearance Index will be an exploratory outcome. Outcomes will be explored using the most appropriate statistical test, dependent on the sample distribution. Focus groups will be an exploratory outcome and analysed by thematic analysis.

Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval has been obtained from the East Midlands-Leicester South Research Ethics Committee and the trial has been registered through the ISRCTN Registry. The study results will be disseminated to the appropriate stakeholders through presentations, conferences and peer-reviewed journals.


  • Enya Daynes 1,2,3
  • Neil Greening 1,2,3
  • Salman Siddiqui 2,3
  • Sally Singh 1,2,3


  • 1

    Centre of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK

  • 2

    NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – Respiratory, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK

  • 3

    University of Leicester, Leicester, UK


ERJ Open Research

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