Spacer with a ball in it?: I had my mum... - Asthma UK communi...

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Spacer with a ball in it?

I had my mum on the phone this morning, telling me about a new treatment my cousin has been having for her asthma.

She lives in Holland, and is a couple of years older than me, and started having trouble with her asthma about the same time as me a year or so ago. Like me she coughs and coughs but doesn't wheeze, has had a couple of admissions, lots of different medication and tests. Like me she is only allergic to grass pollen and nothing else. Anyway her specialist says that she has difficulty coughing up the gunk in her lungs and has given her a spacer with a ball in the middle to help her breathe better and get the phlegm up. Apparently it has really helped her as for some reason she's not very good at coughing stuff up herself.

I have terrible trouble getting gunk off my chest especially if I have a chest infection the gunk is very thick almost like jelly in consistency or if I'm well it is thick and sticky. It always takes me ages to cough anything up on my chest. I've got a nasal drip still despite taking steroid nasal spray twice a day all year round.

My asthma is pretty much stable at the moment although I still get regular triggers I've been using my preventer properly as well as taking all the other preventer medication I'm on.

So has anyone used them? Do you know what they are called over here if so? Would it be worth asking at the chest clinic the next time I go?

6 Replies

I think this may be the ""flutter"" device that is sometimes used by chest physios. I'm not sure if it's available on the NHS - I don't think it is - but you can certainly purchase them. I know of a few people on this site who have found benefit from them if they have a lot of secretions.



Yep the 'spacer with a ball' is the Flutter Mucus Clearance Device. It's about the size of an inhaler with a heavy metal ball, the vibrations from which help to loosen the nasty gunk in your lungs and bronchi, allowing it to be coughed up with little effort :) yay. Pretty sure you can get one on the NHS, Hope this helps!



cost of flutter mucus clearance device

Have just found a website selling the device at £67.29 (incl VAT). Seems a bit pricey for a bit of plastic with a ball in it. Mind you, if it worked, I would try anything. As I understand it, the more mucus that is in your lungs, the easier it is for infection to take hold.......


I have a flutter which I was given by the physiotherapist at the hospital. Certainly I didn't have to pay for it, not even the price of a prescription.

I would, however, be slightly hesitant about simply buying one from an online shop. Not only is it quite expensive, but there are certain people and certain lung conditions for which untrained use of the flutter can be quite dangerous. I'm not going into details because I can't remember the details, but certainly my physio did explain when to use it and when not to. If you have bronchiectasis and have ever had bleeding lungs you do have to be especially careful.

So - it is indeed very good at removing mucus, but I think not to be used without first being taught how to use it safely. Perhaps you could ask either your GP or your hospital consultant to refer you to a respiratory physio so that you can get given a flutter and taught how to use it?



yeah, having pneumothorax scar tissue vibrated isn't a great idea :/

£67.29?!!? Extortionate! I had a similar experience needing an 'at home' heart & breathing monitor- cost? £700! :o


Thanks guys, at least I know its available and what its called now. Its definitely worth mentioning the next time I go to the hospital, I don't know if I still get access to the chest physio as I've not been admitted since July. My sister in law, who's an nhs manager, tells me that you only get access to one when you've had two admissions in a year!



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