Bronchiectasis and Airway Clearance Therapy

Breakthrough in the Treatment of Lung Diseases

Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung infection that is triggered by a number of conditions including pneumonia, a weakened immune system, an allergic reaction termed allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), aspiration, cystic fibrosis, problems with the cilia that line the airways of the lungs, or connective tissue diseases.

Bronchiectasis is placed in two categories: non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis related bronchiectasis. Both conditions cause the bronchi to thicken from inflammation and infection, which damage and widen these airways. Overtime, mucus accumulates and generates bacteria that produce recurrent infections. People with bronchiectasis have difficulty breathing due to flare-ups called exacerbations. The most common symptoms are persistent cough and production of excess mucus. Treatments can help reduce coughing, discomfort and mucus production, but this condition is incurable.

Diagram of the Vicious Cycle of Bronchiectasis

Treatment Options and Costs

Treatment options include manual chest physical therapy and airway clearance devices that loosen and expel the mucus, antibiotics that reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria infecting the bronchi, or expectorants and prescription drugs that help thin the mucus so that it easier to cough up. Depending on the cause of the bronchiectasis and the patient’s condition, a doctor may recommend airway clearance therapy, surgery to remove part of the infected airway, a bronchodilator, or inhaled corticosteroids. Bronchiectasis medical costs are expensive and remedies are time consuming. A study conducted in 2005 reported that bronchiectasis patients averaged $5,681 higher medical care expenditures with averages of 27 more days of antibiotic therapy, 2 additional days of hospitalization and 6 more outpatient encounters such as ER visits

Airway Clearance therapies for Bronchiectasis

Recommended Bronchiectasis Therapy

To reduce patient costs and time spent seeking treatment for bronchiectasis, medical experts recommend regular airway clearance therapy treatments. One of the most effective airway clearance therapies today is the high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) vest, which produces vibrations at various frequencies and pulse intensities, thinning mucus and loosening it from bronchi walls. Mobile HFCWO vest therapy is a safe way to clear excess mucus from the lungs and their airways, as well as provide relief from coughing and bacterial infections. Clinical studies show most patients using HFCWO airway clearance vests report relief of symptoms and improved pulmonary function. It is important to note that while treatment options vary for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis related bronchiectasis, a HFCWO therapy vest can be safely used to treat both respiratory conditions

Benefits of HFCWO Therapy

Mobile HFCWO therapy vests use mechanical oscillation, delivered to the torso, targeting the upper and lower lobes of the lungs, to clear excess mucus from the bronchi. Patients who opt to use this form of treatment can perform it themselves, typically twice a day at 30 minutes each session. Basic research studies demonstrate several synergistic physiological effects that enhance mucus mobilization and clearance. Clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of HFCWO in a broad range of patient populations. HFCWO therapy has been used successfully by more than 70,000 patients with impaired airway clearance arising from an array of acute and chronic conditions that compromise mucociliary clearance, such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and neuromuscular diseases. Numerous published studies investigational endpoints include the comparative volume of expectorated secretions, changes in pulmonary function scores, quality of life gains and reductions in healthcare utilization. HFCWO is the only ACT shown to sustain or improve pulmonary function.

Other potential benefits of using the HFCWO respiratory vest may include:

  • Improved lung functionality and quality of life
  • Decreased number of exacerbations and alleviation of severe symptoms
  • Safely loosening and thinning mucus so that lungs become less susceptible to respiratory infections
  • Ease of use for patient


Patients with bronchiectasis live with the daily challenges of breathing independently and clearing mucus from their lungs. This condition results in recurrent respiratory infections, time consuming emergency room visits, and costly doctor bills. Living with bronchiectasis disrupts patients’ quality of life, puts a strain on family relationships, and prevents sufferers from participating in activities they enjoy. Mobile HFCWO airway clearance vest therapy may help loosen and cough up mucus and improve patient quality of life and patient adherence.

If you are ready to breathe easier and begin the process of enjoying life again, talk to your doctor today about getting a prescription for AffloVest HFCWO vest therapy.

Wearing AffloVest for Airway Clearance Therapy