PEP-CoV protocol: a PEP flute-self-care randomised controlled trial to prevent respiratory deterioration and hospitalisation in early COVID-19

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INTRODUCTION: Infection with SARS-CoV-2 may progress to severe pulmonary disease, COVID-19. Currently, patients admitted to hospital because of COVID-19 have better prognosis than during the first period of the pandemic due to improved treatment. However, the overall societal susceptibility of being infected makes it pivotal to prevent severe courses of disease to avoid high mortality rates and collapse of the healthcare systems. Positive expiratory pressure (PEP) self-care is used in chronic pulmonary disease and has been shown to prevent pneumonia in a high-risk cohort of patients with leukaemia. PEP flute self-care to prevent respiratory deterioration and hospitalisation in early COVID-19: a randomised trial (The PEP-CoV trial) examines the effectiveness on respiratory symptoms and need of hospital admission by regular PEP flute use among non-hospitalised individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptoms. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: In this randomised controlled trial, we hypothesise that daily PEP flute usage as add-on to usual care is superior to usual care as regards symptom severity measured by the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) at 30-day follow-up (primary outcome) and hospital admission through register data (secondary outcome). We expect to recruit 400 individuals for the trial. Participants in the intervention group receive a kit of 2 PEP flutes and adequate resistances and access to instruction videos. A telephone hotline offers possible contact to a nurse. The eight-item CAT score measures cough, phlegm, chest tightness, dyspnoea, activities of daily living at home, feeling safe at home despite symptoms, sleep quality and vigour. The CAT score is measured daily in both intervention and control arms by surveys prompted through text messages. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was registered prospectively at on 27 August 2020 (NCT04530435). Ethical approval was granted by the local health research ethics committee (Journal number: H-20035929) on 23 July 2020. Enrolment of participants began on 6 October 2020. Results will be published in scientific journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04530435; Pre-results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050582
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

    Research areas

  • clinical trials, COVID-19, infectious diseases, preventive medicine, public health, respiratory medicine (see thoracic medicine)

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