Airway Clearance in Bronchiectasis: A Randomized Control Trial of N-Acetylcysteine with 3% hypertonic saline
Background: N-Acetylcysteine and 3% hypertonic saline are being used effectively for sputum clearance in chronic cases of bronchiectasis for quite some time. However, their use in acute condition of the disease seems to be underexplored. The objective of our study is to compare the role of nebulized N-acetylcysteine and 3% hypertonic saline in clearing the airway in patients with acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis.
Material and Methods: A total of 136 confirmed cases of bronchiectasis were enrolled in this study. This randomized controlled trial was done in chest ward of Nishtar Hospital Multan from January 2015 to March 2017. Sampling was done by non-probability consecutive sampling and patients were divided into two groups A and B by lottery method. Verbal informed consent was taken from all participants. Group A participants received nebulization of N acetylcysteine mixed in normal saline for ten minutes, while group B participants were nebulized with 10ml of 3% hypertonic saline for ten minutes. Group B was active control group in the study. Data was collected on pre-designed Proforma, and analyzed by SPSS version 22. Numerical variables such as saturation, weight of sputum, age and blood pressure was analyzed by using t test. These were considered significant if the p value was equal or less than 0 .05. For qualitative variables chi square test was applied.
Results: The mean O2 saturation of Group A, before and after treatment, was 92.11±3.07% and 94.47±2.18%, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p value =0.001). The sputum weight of Group A, before and after treatment, was 2.63±2.39 g and 7.41±1.38 g, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p value =0.001). The frequency of rhonchi of Group A, before and after treatment, was 52% and 76%, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p value =0.003). While, for Group B, the mean O2 saturation, before and after treatment, was 92.36±3.13% and 93.49±2.27%, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p value =0.012). The sputum weight, before and after treatment, was 3.11±2.01 g and 5.56±1.02 g, respectively. The frequency of rhonchi, before and after treatment, was 45% and 74% respectively. Again, the difference was statistically significant.
Conclusion: Both nebulized N-acetylcysteine and 3% hypertonic saline cause airway clearance by enhancing sputum expectoration in patients with acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis equally. Both these agents also improve oxygen saturation in acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis significantly.
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