CF and Non-CF Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is the term used to refer to dilatation of the airways in the lungs (also known as bronchi) that is usually permanent and is associated with symptoms of cough, excess mucus production and recurring respiratory infections.  It can be caused by a range of genetically inherited and acquired disorders. The two main types of bronchiectasis are cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.

Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis (CFB)

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetically inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. Cystic fibrosis affects approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States and approximately 80,000 individuals worldwide.

Mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and its protein cause the body to produce thick sticky mucus that forms in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. The thick mucus clogs the lung airways and leads to chronic lung infections with dilation and destruction of airways, causing progressive lung damage and making it harder to breath. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

Currently there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, however there are various treatment options that can manage the symptoms of the disease and improve a patient’s quality of life. The type and severity of CF symptoms can differ widely from person to person, therefore treatments should be tailored to each individual’s unique circumstances and lifestyle.

Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis (NCFB)

Non‐cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (BE) is a chronic lung condition in which the breathing tubes in the lungs, also known as airways or bronchi, become abnormally dilated and thickened over time. While there are many causes of bronchiectasis, damage to the airway by lung infection is the most common. These damaged airways can no longer effectively clear mucus and bacteria from the lungs.

Over time, excess mucus accumulates in the airways and provides a breeding ground for bacteria that produce recurrent infections. Mucus build-up can cause a vicious cycle of inflammation and infection, leading to further damaged airways. This can lead to flare-ups of cough, increased mucus production, and shortness of breath called exacerbations, each of which can make the bronchiectasis worse. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment of bronchiectasis is very important.

Often developing gradually, symptoms of bronchiectasis may not appear for months or even years after the predisposing event or events. Some of the signs and symptoms of a bronchiectasis exacerbation are the same as those of acute bronchitis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), making them hard to differentiate. Diagnosing bronchiectasis can therefore be tricky because it often presents like COPD but won’t respond to COPD therapy.

Treatment Options for CF and Non-CF Bronchiectasis

Treatment approaches to manage symptoms for people with CF and Non-CF bronchiectasis can include a) the use of breathing exercises and medical devices to help loosen and clear mucus from the lungs, b) the use of oral and inhaled medications that help clear mucus from the lungs, and c) the use of antibiotics to treat lung infections. It is crucial for people with CF and non-CF bronchiectasis to loosen and clear mucus from their lungs to allow clear breathing and minimize recurring lung infections.

Airway Clearance Therapy (ACT) is considered a cornerstone of therapy for people with CF and Non-CF bronchiectasis and is aimed at minimizing the effects of airway obstruction, infection, and inflammation in these lung diseases. Airway clearance therapy is recommended for individuals whose ability to mobilize and clear airway secretions is compromised.

Airway clearance therapy utilizes physical or mechanical means to mobilize mucus and phlegm by facilitating airway clearing through coughing. Today a variety of strategies may be used to enhance airway clearance, with the goal of reducing the amount of mucus in the lungs, thereby reducing the risk of infection, pulmonary exacerbation and lung function decline. Breathing techniques, gravity assisted postural drainage, manual chest physical therapy and mechanical oscillation devices can be used to produce a cough or cough-like effect to clear mucus out of the lungs.

Airway clearance is a critical part of care for people with CF or Non-CF bronchiectasis. If you or your loved one have CF or non-CF bronchiectasis, review the different ACT options and talk to your care team about the best one(s) for you.

High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation Airway Clearance Vest Therapy

One of the most effective airway clearance therapies is a high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy vest. HFCWO therapy vests produce vibrations at various frequencies and pulse intensities aimed at thinning mucus and loosening it from the airways to help bring it to the upper airways, where it can be coughed out or removed by suction. HFCWO vests are easy-to-use airway clearance treatments that are self-administered and do not require the assistance of a skilled professional.

HFCWO vest therapy may help to:

  • Break up mucus, making it thinner
  • Create “mini-coughs” in the lungs, which help push the mucus out
  • Make the cilia move faster, helping them carry the loosened mucus to the upper airways
  • Improve lung functionality and quality of life
  • Decrease number of exacerbations and alleviate symptoms

AffloVest Mobile Mechanical HFCWO Vest Therapy

What is AffloVest Mobile HFCWO Vest Therapy? AffloVest is the first truly portable, battery-operated HFCWO airway clearance therapy vest specifically engineered to give patients the freedom and mobility to streamline and enhance their airway clearance therapy, help mobilize lung secretions, and promote treatment adherence. AffloVest is designed to deliver seamless mobility without the restriction of bulky hoses and generators found in other therapies and to help improve the quality of life for patients with Bronchiectasis, Cystic Fibrosis, COPD,MS, MD (muscular dystrophy), ALS, and other neuromuscular and respiratory disorders.

HFCWO vests are only available by prescription. If you are considering using AffloVest, talk to your doctor about how AffloVest HFCWO vest therapy can benefit you. AffloVest requires a doctor’s prescription for treatment by High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO). The AffloVest has received the FDA’s 510k clearance for U.S. market availability, and is approved for Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance reimbursement under the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code E0483 – High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation.