Treatment approaches to manage symptoms for people with CF and Non-CF bronchiectasis can include a) the use of breathing exercises and medical devices to help loosen and clear mucus from the lungs, b) the use of oral and inhaled medications that help clear mucus from the lungs, and c) the use of antibiotics to treat lung infections. It is crucial for people with CF and non-CF bronchiectasis to loosen and clear mucus from their lungs to allow clear breathing and minimize recurring lung infections.
Airway Clearance Therapy (ACT) is considered a cornerstone of therapy for people with CF and Non-CF bronchiectasis and is aimed at minimizing the effects of airway obstruction, infection, and inflammation in these lung diseases. Airway clearance therapy is recommended for individuals whose ability to mobilize and clear airway secretions is compromised.
Airway clearance therapy utilizes physical or mechanical means to mobilize mucus and phlegm by facilitating airway clearing through coughing. Today a variety of strategies may be used to enhance airway clearance, with the goal of reducing the amount of mucus in the lungs, thereby reducing the risk of infection, pulmonary exacerbation and lung function decline. Breathing techniques, gravity assisted postural drainage, manual chest physical therapy and mechanical oscillation devices can be used to produce a cough or cough-like effect to clear mucus out of the lungs.
Airway clearance is a critical part of care for people with CF or Non-CF bronchiectasis. If you or your loved one have CF or non-CF bronchiectasis, review the different ACT options and talk to your care team about the best one(s) for you.