A programme of increased physical activity and self treatment based on the forced expiration technique was introduced to 14 adolescent patients with cystic fibrosis, diagnosed since infancy or early childhood, who had gastrointestinal and pulmonary symptoms. Twelve patients who fulfilled the one year programme had unchanged clinical conditions, pulmonary function tests, and chest x ray films. There was a significant improvement in oxygen pressure correlated to the period of increased physical activity. Other blood gas variables, including pH, standard bicarbonate, and base excess, also indicated significant changes, mainly during exercise. The study shows that daily physical activity improves the pulmonary gas exchange and that self treatment combined with physical activity is as efficient as conventional physiotherapy.
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