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Airway clearance system is a device that helps patients breathe easier by thinning and mobilizing mucus and secretions from the lungs. Mucus is a sticky substance that traps dust, bacteria, and other particles in the airways. When mucus accumulates in the lungs, it can cause infections, inflammation, and breathing difficulties. Therefore, it is important to remove mucus from the lungs regularly.
One of the most common techniques for mucus removal is high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO). This technique uses a vest or a wrap that inflates and deflates rapidly, creating gentle pressure waves that shake the chest wall. These waves dislodge mucus from the bronchial walls and move it from smaller to larger airways, where it can be coughed or suctioned out.
There are different types of airway clearance systems that use HFCWO technology, such as The Vest Airway Clearance System by Hillrom and The Monarch Airway Clearance System by Baxter. These systems have different features, such as:
Multiple programming options for treatment flexibility
CoughPause feature that reminds patients to cough
Single patient use garments and hoses to prevent infection
Different sizes and colors of garments
Mobility and portability of devices
Connection to apps and portals for data sharing and monitoring
Airway clearance systems are indicated for patients who have evidence or a suggestion of retained secretions, or who have difficulty with secretion clearance, or presence of atelectasis caused by mucus plugging. Some of the conditions that may benefit from airway clearance systems are:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Primary ciliary dyskinesia
Spinal cord injury
Airway clearance systems are designed to help patients improve their lung function, reduce respiratory infections and hospitalizations, and enhance their quality of life. They are easy to use and can be integrated into daily routines. Patients should consult with their healthcare providers before using airway clearance systems and follow their prescribed treatment plan.
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