The Rationale for Including Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in the Management of Infections: a Hermeneutic Review


Infectious Diseases

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Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy


Introduction: As the prevalence of drug-resistant infections continues to outpace the development of new antibiotics, we must explore all reasonable options for enhancing the effectiveness of existing anti-infectives. The emergence of novel pathogens without initial drug treatments or vaccines, typified by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 pandemic, further underscores the need for non-pharmacologic adjunctive measures for infection management. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) may represent such an adjunct.

Areas covered: PubMed, CINAHL, Google Scholar, Cochrane databases and relevant chapters of major osteopathic texts were searched for animal experiments, case reports, observational studies, non-randomized, and randomized trials pertaining to infection, OMT, and the complications or safety of OMT. OMT was associated with one or more of the following: decreased bacterial colony counts in lung tissue; changes in immunologic profiles manifested by significant differences dendritic cells and levels of IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1a, and G-CSF; shorter durations of IV antibiotics; decreased length of hospitalization; decreased rates of respiratory failure and death; decreased post-surgical lengths of stay; and enhanced patient satisfaction.

Expert opinion: Preliminary, lower-grade evidence suggests that OMT can improve some infection-related outcomes, and is safe. The role of OMT in infection management should undergo further controlled trials without delay.



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