Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) for pneumonia reduced length of hospital stay in adults 50 to 74 years old and lowered in-hospital mortality rates for patients 75 and older, finds an analysis of multicenter randomized controlled clinical trial.
The study results got published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The study analyzed 375 patients ages 50 or older who were randomly assigned to three groups, either receiving OMT, a light touch or conventional care only.
‘Osteopathic manipulative techniques can help treat structural and tissue abnormalities, relieve joint restriction and misalignment, restore muscle and tissue balance.’
Differences between treatment groups were evaluated for subgroups of participants based on their age, Pneumonia Severity Index and type of pneumonia. The data were analyzed by intention-to-treat analysis of all participants and by per-protocol analysis of participants who finished the study without missing any protocol treatments.
Key findings by per-protocol analysis of the younger subgroup found that OMT decreased hospital stay by 1.1 days compared to those who received conventional care only. By intention-to-treat analysis of the older subgroup, in-hospital mortality rates were 11 percent lower to the conventional-care only group. OMT also reduced the in-hospital mortality rates of those with the highest severity of illness.
"Osteopathic manipulative therapy was developed in the pre-antibiotic era specifically for the management of pneumonia. While antibiotic therapy is the current standard of care, the emergence of resistant bacteria is a global threat and provides an incentive to explore adjunct treatments that can improve their efficacy," said James Bailey, DO, assistant professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. "This study should encourage physicians to use their osteopathic techniques when treating older patients with pneumonia."
Pneumonia is a leading cause of death for elderly patients, with over 90 percent of pneumonia-related deaths among those 65 and older. Previous studies have also shown that OMT can improve the efficacy of antibiotics in pneumonia patients.
Osteopathic manipulative techniques can help treat structural and tissue abnormalities, relieve joint restriction and misalignment, restore muscle and tissue balance and promote the overall movement blood flow throughout the body. When appropriate, it can complement, and in some cases replace, medications or surgery.