Cystic fibrosis vest is a device used in the physical therapy treatment of cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis causes mucus secretions that are very thick. The secretions in the lungs may lead to chronic pulmonary complications such as mucus plugging, persistent infection and tissue damage. Cystic fibrosis patients require daily airway clearance therapy to reduce these complications. Cystic fibrosis vest is an airway clearance system used to reduce pulmonary complications. Physicians prescribe 10-40 minutes for vest therapy per day.
The system includes an air pulse generator, a vest, connecting tubes, power cord and a remote control. The vest is inflatable and is connected by two tubes to a small air pulse generator. The air pulse generator inflates and deflates the vest. It gently compresses and releases the chest wall up to 20 times per second. This process is called high frequency chest wall oscillation. The frequency creates airflow within the lungs. This process loosens the mucus and the thin mucus moves toward the larger airways. It can be cleared by coughing or suctioning.
The cystic fibrosis vest system can be easily used by children and adults. It does not require positioning or breathing techniques. The vest system has an adjustable frequency setting from 5 to 20Hz. The pressure used in the vest is adjustable. The pressure is moderately stable according to frequencies but sometimes varies depending on the vest size. The usage meter in the vest system records the length of each treatment. A typical treatment using the vest system takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Vest therapy is the basic element of standard cystic fibrosis treatment program at major health centers. The vest system is appropriate for patients with excessive mucus production and difficulty in clearing secretions. It provides a consistent and high quality airway clearance. The vest system does not require positioning or postural drainage. It is not technique dependent and most users can manage the vest system without any help.
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