Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease in children. In addition to medications, physical therapy is considered as a treatment strategy for asthma. We conducted this study to investigate the effects of physical therapy on lung function in children with asthma.
Three databases were searched. We conducted the meta-analysis for the forced expiratory volume in the first second in percent predicted values [FEV1(%pred)], the forced vital capacity in percent predicted values [FVC(%pred)], and the peak expiratory flow in percent predicted values [PEF(%pred)] by using a random effect model.
Of the 6474 identified studies, 18 studies (16 in physical training, 2 in breathing exercise or inspiratory muscle training) were included in the systematic review and 11 studies (all in physical training) were included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis showed a significantly improved FVC(%pred) in the experimental group.
Physical training improved FVC(%pred) significantly in children with asthma. Further study is needed, especially on the effects of breathing exercise and inspiratory muscle training in children with asthma.
Our study reviewed the physical therapies for children with asthma and clarified whether and how these therapies affect them.
Our study found that physical training improved the forced vital capacity in percent predicted values [FVC(%pred)] significantly in asthmatic children.
Our study provided evidence that physical training could improve lung function in children with asthma, which is not identical to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines.
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This study is supported by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Science and Technology (No. 2013sz0040). The funders had no role in the design, execution, or writing of this protocol.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Zhang, W., Wang, Q., Liu, L. et al. Effects of physical therapy on lung function in children with asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatr Res 89, 1343–1351 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-020-0874-x
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