Findings from the MATREX study: A treatment protocol for the delivery of manual chest therapy in respiratory care

J Cross, F Elender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


One of the difficulties in comparing the numerous studies on manual chest therapy (MCT) is the wide variety of techniques used and terms employed to describe the intervention. This lack of consistency in therapeutic approach and the absence of defined tools for evaluation have led to a continued air of skepticism about its true value. This paper presents a treatment protocol used in a large randomized controlled trial examining the efficacy and cost effectiveness of MCT for patients hospitalized with exacerbations of COPD.
Consensus development meetings with key physical therapists were held to identify the essential elements of MCT, address potential areas of ambiguity, and provide a set of clear parameters within which treatment would be based and recorded. This iterative approach resulted in a treatment protocol that combined best clinical practice with the research evidence available to date.
In the Management of Exacerbations of COPD (MATREX) trial, 658 sessions of MCT were delivered by physical therapists over a 3 year period. A high level of adherence to the treatment protocol was seen for all but one of the protocol elements.
With respect to the essential elements of MCT, the treatment protocol used in the MATREX trial offers sufficient flexibility to the therapist, while being robust enough to maintain clinical trial integrity. The level of adherence by therapists indicates its professional acceptability with respect to delivering and evaluating this therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1266
Number of pages4
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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