Advice on lung clearance devices please - Lung Conditions C...

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Advice on lung clearance devices please

Walkonthewildside profile image
24 Replies

I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis around 18 months ago. I paid privately for a couple of sessions with a physiotherapist whilst I was waiting for my first appointment with NHS consultant. The physio taught me breathing exercises, huffing, and so on. I have now seen my consultant several times, had breathing tests, and am now on a waiting list for pulmonary rehabilitation. My GP supplies me with Carbocisteine and Salbutamol, plus rescue packs of antibiotics for the flare ups.

I bought a 'non branded' 'lung expansion and mucus relief device' off the internet, and feel that this has helped. However, I realise that there are different brands of these devices available to buy, and I would welcome advice from anyone on the forum as to which one might be the best option?

Thanks for any advice on offer! Best wishes to you all.

24 Replies
Oshgosh profile image

I have Interstitial. Lung Disease,not bronchiectasis.

The local respiratory team supplied me with an Aerobika device,I find it really useful to manage my condition..

I find it useful

coral12 profile image

hi. I was given a device called a flutter .u breath in real slow a it makes a flutter noise while vibrating your airways .then u cough phlegm up .it's .good

B0xermad profile image

Hi ,I tried the flutter device and found it hard work. I now use a acapella device and it is very good as you can adjust the strength of what you blow depends on how much mucus you need to shift and strength of your lungs ,I use it every morning regardless of how much mucus I have .hope this helps.

PAP48 profile image

I, too, have Bronchiectasis and Asthma. I used a Flutter device for years but my Pulmonary Physio recommended I change to an Aerobika which I find much more effective and easier to use. Hope this helps.

Nula2 profile image

I have bronchiectasis and used a flutter device that I bought myself . It did help clear mucus but was really hard work . I now have an Acapella (issued by my consultant) it is so much easier and more efficient. I am also having pulmonary rehab and find that is also really helpful.

cofdrop-UK profile image

A very warm welcome to you🙂. It’s down to personal preference for a person with bronchiectasis as to what method of PEP gadget and lung clearance they find most effective. Saying that the most commonly used PEPs are the Flutter and the Acapella (green or blue), both of which are available on prescription from your gp, although gp’s knowledge of this is patchy.

I will put up a link for you and you will find demos of both by clicking on videos. As it shows the flutter can only really be used sitting up. The Acapella Choice can be used in any position by turning the mouthpiece slightly and can be usd at different resistance settings. Personally I find the acapella is much more effective used laying down than in an upright position. You might try 8 blows, get your breath back and then huff or gentle cough.

I am surprised your consultant didn’t refer you to their own resp physio, who may well have given you the PEP most suited to you.


Walkonthewildside profile image
Walkonthewildside in reply to cofdrop-UK

Thank you for your comment and also for putting up the link. I had not seen that website before, and there is a lot of useful information on there.

cofdrop-UK profile image
cofdrop-UK in reply to Walkonthewildside

you’re very welcome. I am glad you have found the website useful as I was involved for a couple of years as one of the PAGs with ELF/ERS. I loved it but unfortunately no longer due to other health issues preventing me from taking part fully. ERS are a very reliable source of information and the site is updated by proactive clinicians and PAGs.


Morrison10 profile image

I’ve had bronchiectasis over 50years, caused by PCD condition born with (see site on here). Three years ago my new consultant gave me a Nebuliser, use twice daily with Salbutamol and sodium chloride, inhale steam through mask, takes nearly hour each time, and have to sterilise mask etc after each use. I doubt you will need this yet, but gives you idea of what’s available. I find Aerobika very useful, also have spirometer that I’m not very good using. Also have Ventolin evohaler for when feel blocked. Although NHS are supposed to do my respiratory physio, not available, so have private physio comes to my house twice weekly, leaves me clear each time. I take carbocisten to thin mucus. Found my new consultant by looking on line at interests of all respiratory consultants in area. Good luck. Jean

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to Morrison10

Jean it really shouldnt take anywhere nr an hour - is yr nebuliser faulty? X

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Patk1

Thanks. I’ve had Nebuliser serviced, and replaced, no improvement! Was disappointed but can’t see alternative. bought travel one that’s quicker but doesn’t seem to do job as well. I’m in hard place, don’t see way out. Jean x

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to Morrison10

oh dear.could u get new 1 frm respiratory dept?ea of my salbutamol thn hypertronic saline go thro in minutes.Could u try new ' reservoirs' and piping, see if that helps?its hard enough without nebuliser taking so long.x

Morrison10 profile image
Morrison10 in reply to Patk1

thanks, will take it up again with Respiratory Consultant/department

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to Morrison10

yes, shld only take a few mins ea time x

papageno profile image

As others have said, we are all very different in our responses to physiotherapy, drugs and devices. I have Aspergilloma, Bronchiectasis and dormant NTM. My hospital respiratory consultant has been very keen to differentiate between bronchiectasis flare ups and exacerbations. The former does not require antibiotics and steroids rescue pack [which I have on stand by]] the latter would do, but again you need to discuss this with your consultant. I bought an Acapella [they are not available on prescription in my CCG area] and I find it does help. In fact I bought a second one to give the first one plenty of time to dry when I carefully clean it. Carbocisteine, in my case, is also very effective in helping me clear sputum when i have a flare up. Pulmonary rehab, which I had in 2006, sadly made no difference to my breathlessness. I am hoping clinical researchers will define a type of rehab better designed for Bronchiectasis.

Walkonthewildside profile image
Walkonthewildside in reply to papageno

Thanks for your comment. I think I need to discuss the difference between flare ups and exacerbations the next time I see my consultant, as to tell the truth I am still pretty unclear on this. I am guessing that 'just' feeling very out of breath does not mean I should start the antibiotics, whereas if/when the mucus goes a horrid colour (!) then its time to crack open the Doxycycline ?! I am planning to buy an Acapella.

Thank you.

papageno profile image
papageno in reply to Walkonthewildside

Yes, a comprehensive conversation with your consultant is most important as s/he may also want to do tests [lung function test for instance], analyse sputum specimen and discuss specific issues relating to your personal context. Breathlessness is only one amongst many symptoms. Sputum colour and viscosity is another symptom, but not the only one. In my case, worsening colour is not sufficient to merit use of antibiotics. But again, we are all different with complex medical histories. For me, fever and poor concentration would rate as markers to start using ABx, Perhaps, you could start establishing a list of symptoms [those you experience frequently, occasionally and those you want to know more about] to give some foundation to the discussion with your consultant.

pickingflowers4u profile image
pickingflowers4u in reply to papageno

HI. I too use same physio device. Acapella saline nebs. I try to keep them sanitised after use but there are so many conflicting advisory methods. It's confusing knowing what method is best. Please can you say what your methods are.

papageno profile image
papageno in reply to pickingflowers4u

Basically, I use warm soap and water to clean each part and then let it dry naturally. One document I have found very useful, but cannot attach on this platform, is from Royal Papsworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, titled "Using your Acapella" a Patient Leaflet. You might be able to find it using a search engine. It also explains how to sterilise the device.

Walkonthewildside profile image

Thank you for your comments and advice. This forum is of great help as the people on here have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share!

C x

Jess_hill profile image

I've got an Aerobika but it doesn't seem to do much at all for me - I find just doing the active cycle of breathing techniques after exercise (the more vigorous the better) more effective.

Alberta56 profile image

Hello, I have bronchiectasis and was prescribed an AeroBika when I was really ill. I found it invaluable- coughed up loads of mucus. Good luck in finding a device which works as well for you.

Patk1 profile image

mines an aerobika and can use in any position too.i use it between acb, postural drainage etc.u shld see nhs respiratory physio+ they will give u 1& set to correct pressure 4u x

Lapis5 profile image

I have a Pari Nebulizer and 3% saline. Plus use an AFFLO oscillation vest at the same time, about 30 mins. The AFFLO vest is battery operated so u can sit stand or lay down or walk around. This combo works for me twice a day. I have Pseudomonas Colonized and Bronchiectasis.. on Iv antibiotics in Port now for 2 weeks so far, 2nd time in a month. If u get PSeudomponas colonized it is almost impossible to cure only tamp it down. I also have the Acapella device but does not do much for me.I also take a very warm shower after each treatment to get the mucas out, exhausting some times but works.

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