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Airway Clearance Therapy

Are you struggling with a chronic cough, lung infection, or even hospitalization? Have you been diagnosed with a respiratory disease like bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, or a neuromuscular disorder?

There are a number of diseases that negatively impact the lung’s mucus production and ability to cough. When mucus can’t move and blocks airways, it puts the lungs at risk for infection, inflammation, and even airway damage.

Someone with airway clearance challenges may struggle with:

  • Chronic cough or ineffective cough
  • Recurring chest/lung infections
  • Mucus retention or mucus plugging

If these symptoms describe you, you may benefit from airway clearance.

Inflammation, mucus production, lung infection; Break the vicious cycle with AffloVest

Airway Clearance Therapy Techniques


Airway clearance therapy utilizes physical or mechanical means of percussion and vibration to mobilize mucus and phlegm to facilitate airway clearing by coughing.

Chest Physiotherapy

Chest physiotherapy (CPT) involves a therapist or caregiver gently but firmly patting the chest and back to loosen thick mucus in the lungs.

High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation

High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) is performed with a mechanical vest that gently vibrates the chest wall to loosen mucus.

Coughing & Huffing

Coughing is one of the easiest airway clearance techniques and helps to release mucus from he lungs and passed into airways for clearing.

Positive Expiratory Pressure

Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) therapy uses a mask or mouthpiece attached to a resistor that holds the airways open to breath in and out against the resistance.

Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure

Oscillating PEP  is where a person blows out many times through a device to vibrate the large and small airways to dislodge mucus.

Active Cycle of Breathing Technique

ACBT therapy includes controlled breathing, chest expansion exercises and forced coughing to get air behind the mucus to force it out.

To learn more about airway clearance therapy visit

What is High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation?

High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) is an airway clearance therapy in which external chest wall oscillations are applied to the chest. HFCWO vests produce vibrations at variable frequencies and intensities, helping to loosen and thin mucus and separate it from airway walls. Studies conducted showed that HFCWO vest therapy produced an improvement in lung function, quality of life, and reduction of symptoms compared to traditional chest physiotherapy (CPT).1 In addition, HFCWO vest therapy is proven to decrease hospitalizations and antibiotic use.2

Manual chest physiotherapy cannot be performed independently and involves utilizing a caregiver or respiratory therapist to perform the percussing and clapping. The effectiveness of manual CPT is largely dependent upon the caregiver’s knowledge and use of proper technique.

In contrast, AffloVest HFCWO:

  • Can be used independently by most patients, without assistance from a caregiver
  • Can be done at the same time as other airway clearance therapies
  • Does not require any special positioning or breathing techniques

1. Nicolini, A. et al., Effectiveness of treatment with high-frequency chest wall oscillation in patients with bronchiectasis. BMC Pulmonary Medicine. 2013;13:21.
2. Therapeutic Advanced Respiratory Disease. Real-life experience with high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest therapy in adults with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Barto. 2020.