Airway Clearance Therapy: What Is It and Why Is It Needed?
Airway obstruction and damage to the airways may result from recurring mucus build up, infection, and inflammation. There are a number of diseases that impair ciliary function, increase mucus production and interfere with the ability to cough. Mucus that accumulates or is stagnant obstructs directing airways, is a conduit for bacterial colonization and infection, evokes inflammatory response, and contributes to airway damage.
Airway Clearance Therapy (ACT) can be considered a cornerstone technique for the prevention and treatment of pulmonary disease and respiratory dysfunction. Airway clearance therapy utilizes physical or mechanical means of vibration to mobilize mucus and phlegm to facilitate airway clearing by coughing. Breathing techniques, gravity assisted drainage, manual techniques, and/or mechanical devices can be used to produce a cough or cough-like effect.
ACT is designated for individuals whose cough mechanics are altered and whose ability to mobilize and clear airway secretions is compromised. Today a variety of strategies may be used to enhance airway clearance, with the goal of improving lung function to minimize re-infection.
Airway Clearance Techniques
High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation
High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO), also referred to as vest therapy, is highly recommended and effective form of Airway Clearance Therapy. Several studies report that HFCWO mobilizes more secretions than manual CPT, aids in mucus expectoration (coughing up of mucus), and contributes to stabilization or improvement of lung function.
Why Choose AffloVest HFCWO?
Traditional airway clearance therapy involves breathing techniques and posturing to be effective. Manual chest physiotherapy cannot be performed independently and involves utilizing a caregiver or respiratory therapist to perform the percussing and clapping. The effectiveness of manual CPT is largely dependent upon the caregivers knowledge and use of proper technique. In contrast, HFCWO:
- Does not require any special positioning or breathing techniques
- Can be used independently by most patients, without assistance from a caregiver
- Technology is independent of patient or caregiver knowledge or technique
What Does the Research Say?
Several clinical studies report that HFCWO:
- Improve pulmonary function
- Mobilizes more secretions than hand CPT
- Aids in clearing and coughing up of mucus
- Improved patients daily quality of life
AffloVest – The New Gold Standard
During the last 3 decades, HFCWO vest therapy has been confined to a technology that originated in the early 80s. Air bladder vest therapy systems are comprised of of two components, an air-pulse generator and an inflatable vest that is connected to the generator by hoses, which confined patients to a seated position and plugged into a wall during treatment. Once the patient puts the vest on and turns on the generator, each squeeze of the vest provides pressured air pulses to oscillate the chest wall and produce a cough.
AffoVest is the first vest of its kind to offer a quieter, more flexible, mobile airway clearance therapy option without being tied to a wall or chair. The AffloVest provides high frequency chest wall oscillation through a battery operated system of eight dynamic oscillating motors that closely mimic hand CPT, anatomically targeting the lobes of the lungs in sequential order. The full mobility of the AffloVest allows patients to be on the go and productive while receiving their airway clearance therapy.