Mucus thinners, such as mucolytics, are inhaled medications that help thin the mucus in the airways so you can cough it out of your lungs more easily. The three main types of mucus thinners are hypertonic saline, mannitol (Bronchitol®), and dornase alfa (Pulmozyme®).
Active cycle of breathing technique (ACBT) combines different breathing techniques that help clear mucus from the lungs in three phases. The first phase helps you relax your airways. The second phase helps you to get air behind mucus and clears mucus. The third phase helps force the mucus out of your lungs.
There are different ways to clear your airways. Most are easy to do. Infants and toddlers will need help from a parent or caregiver. Older kids and adults can choose airway clearance techniques (ACTs) that they can do on their own.
Although cystic fibrosis affects many parts of the body, the focus is often on the lungs because of the disease's effect on breathing.
Autogenic drainage (AD) means “self-drainage” and uses different speeds of breathing to move mucus. To do it, your respiratory therapist can teach you how to control your breaths. You will learn how fast and deeply to breathe to fill certain parts of your lungs with air. AD can take some practice and is usually recommended for people age 8 and older.
Chest physical therapy (CPT or Chest PT) is an airway clearance technique (ACT) to drain the lungs, and may include percussion (clapping), vibration, deep breathing, and huffing or coughing.
Coughing is the most basic airway clearance technique (ACT). It can be an involuntary reflex or it can be controlled as a healthy, natural way for the lungs to get rid of mucus.
High-frequency chest wall oscillation involves an inflatable vest that is attached to a machine. The machine mechanically performs chest physical therapy by vibrating at a high frequency. The vest vibrates the chest to loosen and thin
Positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy gets air into the lungs and behind the mucus using extra (collateral) airways.
Bronchodilators may widen airways by helping the surrounding muscles relax. This could allow more air to travel through the airways, which may help other medications work more effectively.