American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Lymphatic Pump Treatment Enhances Antibiotic Effectiveness for Treating Pneumonia

Study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association finds standard osteopathic manipulative technique removes bacteria from lungs and enhances the efficacy of antibiotics

CHICAGO — May 5, 2015 — Lymphatic pump treatment (LPT) shows promise in managing pneumonia when combined with antibiotic treatment, according to a new study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Researchers performed LPT on infected rats three times a day followed by injections of levofloxacin, a popular antibiotic used to treat pneumonia. After 96 hours, over 60 percent of the rats were disease-free compared to only 25 percent of rats who received levofloxacin alone.

Commonly used by osteopathic physicians, or DOs, LPT is an osteopathic manipulative technique (OMT) that enhances the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system. Clinically, LPT is reported to increase vaccine-specific antibodies, reduce the need for intravenous antibiotics and shorten the duration of hospital stays among elderly patients.

The findings suggest that LPT may fight pneumonia by removing bacteria from the lungs and enhancing the efficacy of antibiotics.

“Osteopathic physicians have long used LPT to help treat and prevent infection,” said lead author Lisa M. Hodge, PhD. “This study is the first of its kind to finally link LPT to improved drug efficacy.”

Infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, are a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Currently, pneumonia accounts for more than one million hospital admissions and about 54,000 deaths each year.

“This objective study supports findings reported by DOs for decades and should encourage physicians to combine OMT techniques with antibiotic treatment for patients with pneumonia,” said Hodge.

The study is accessible online until July 1, 2015.

About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA’s mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.

Media Contact:

Lauren Brush
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