There are many therapy options for aiding in mucus movement and removal, including chest physical therapy, the vest, oscillating expiratory devices (e.g., acapella®, AeroBika®, FLUTTER®), vibrating technology, breathing techniques and exercise.
As the respiratory therapist (RT) on an adult CF care team, I have spent the past 16 years collaborating with my patients on which of these methods works best for them, and how they can fit their airway clearance techniques (ACTs) into their busy lives.
Not every therapy works for every person, and the method of airway clearance that works one day may need to change on another day. More often than not, you'll need to experiment to find the right technique -- or techniques -- that works best for you.
Your RT's job isn't just to help you learn how to do your ACTs; it's also to help you find the best ACT or combination of ACTs for you.
We know that your lives are hectic and that adding another daily CF treatment can make it even more so. It's also part of our job to help you with this by sharing what we know from our experience and what we have learned from other people with CF.
For example, most devices on the market offer a 30-day trial period. This is a great way to see if a certain device can benefit you. Use it, and figure out if helps move mucus. If it doesn't, send it back. If it does, let's work together to fit it into your daily routine and find ways to pay for the device. It can be one more weapon in your airway clearance arsenal.
By working with your RT, you can learn from each other and come up with plans for your type of CF lung disease. Together, you can learn what methods work and what don't, and discuss how to fit this into your daily routine.