British Lung Foundation
35,926 members43,225 posts

Flutter device advice, please

Hi - not getting on with this device - no one in my medical team know how to use it. I have followed the instructions that came with it, but still very little mucous is moved. (The only time I produce the dreaded slime is after eating and usually much later in the day...) Any help gratefully received.

Fond regards

swimmer

24 Replies
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My husband uses one and thinks it is very effective. But I know he was using it this weekend and there was no movement from his chest! As long as you follow the instructions I am sure you will be OK. Take care. TAD xx

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Thanks so much TADAW, I guess I will just keep on persevering - it's just a bit disheartening when I have tried many times with no result.

Kind regards

swimmer

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Try altering the angle of it when it's in your mouth. I use mine slightly angled down. It's trial and error until you find what suits you best. Once it's right you'll feel it at the back of your mouth. I hope that helps.

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Hi again,

I have tried altering the angle but maybe I need to do it more often - it's just frustrating, I had such high hopes of it really helping. I will persevere.

Best wishes

swimmer

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I use one but do find it's some time later that I cough anything up, try doing the huff method after using the flutter.

Lib x

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hi libbygood

I've been huffing and puffing like a good 'un, but to no avail. However, will keep on trying. Thanks for your kind help.

swimmer

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Hi Swimmer, puffthemagicdragon is right about getting the angle that suits you.

I try to stiffen my moon faced cheeks and also stiffen my tongue as much as I can.

Take care with inhale other wise you'll undo the forced breath phase.

When I come to the final hard exhales I try to vibrate my vocal chords too which can help.

It is not always successful but if I can feel any gunk there it always gets it tho it may be a short while after I've used the flutter.

It's expensive for what it is but I've found it does work - persevere I'd say.

Hope this helps,

Chris

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Hi Chris

You are right about 'moon' face, - I feel like some weird monster whilst using the FD. However, I will keep using it and try to stiffen my tongue as well as my cheeks - that sounds like a very useful bit of advice.

Many thanks

swimmer

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Hi swimmer

Some folks find the flutter very effective, but we are all different and some prefer different methods of mucus clearance, be that physio techniques or gadgets eg the acapella.

Try and make sure the vibrations are not happening in your cheeks, but vibrate within the lungs. It would be helpful for you to be referred to a respiratory physio. Have you been to pulmonary rehab, if so you could contact them as one of the physios there should be able to advise you.

Chris - you can now get the flutter on prescription :-)

Good luck swimmer

love cx

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Hi again cofdrop

Thanks for your suggestions. I have been trying to keep cheeks stiff and someone else suggested keeping tongue stiff too. I am waiting to see if and when I can get on to the local pulmonary rehab course - so, hopefully, I will be an expert flutterer soon!

Kind regards

swimmer

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As I recall it took me some time to get the hang of not vibrating the cheeks, once you do get the hang of it you will wonder what the problem was. I did find the acapella easy to use straight away and because I do postural draining with percussion I find it more useful for me as you can use it in any position. If you don't need to use it daily as with bronchiectasis, the flutter will be good.

Let us know when you become our expert flutterer - you could then help someone else who is struggling a bit.

Good luck

cx

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Hi again cofdrop

sorry for the delay in replying to your message but I have been feeling really stressed and weary...

You mention the acapella device - is that better for bronchiectasis than the flutter? Do you know if it's available on prescription? I have severe osteoporosis so cannot have any percussion in case of fractures.

Sorry - feeling pretty hopeless today - overdid things.

Thanks again for your kind help.

swimmer

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Hi swimmer

Sorry for delay hun - been on holiday.

Really difficult to answer sweet as all bronciectatics seem to prefer different methods and gadgets. Personally I find the acapella better, but I do postural draining with percussion - I have oesteoporosis but it is not severe as is yours.

Unfortunately you cannot get the acapella on prescription. You could ask your consultant to refer you to the resp physio and she may have one she could give to you, or at least check out if one suits you. Over time I have been given 2, but when my last one broke I bought my own on Amazon. You can also get it as Henleys - if so make sure you get a VAT medical exemption form

amazon.co.uk/Acapella-Choic...

If you have any questions re the Acapella Choice or anything else just pm me.

Love cx

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Just had a thought - do you nebulise saline or hypertonic saline - should help loosen up the old gunk.

XXX

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Hi again cofdrop

Yes, have tried nebulised saline but without success and the consult said he did not think hypertonic saline would be any better. I see him again in June, so will ask about the acapella then and also am hoping for a referral to pul rehab soon.

I greatly appreciate the time and trouble you go to in helping me.

Kindest regards

swimmer

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Good luck - hope you get sorted. I use the acapella as an aid to physio rather than a stand alone method of clearance, although I realise this is going to be difficult for you. Perhaps a physio would help you with other methods autogenic or active cycal (sure that's not spelt correctly) of breathing, alongside the acapella.

Another lovely member here introduced me to the lung flute and I am still getting used to it.

Doing a rehab course at present. It is pretty much copd based, but I think the excercise part is excellent. I'm usually knacked after, but overall I feel an improvement in energy.

Sorry the saline didn't work for you.

love cx

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Thanx c

There are very few physios at my local hospital (although it is the county hospital in Dorset) due to nhs cutbacks. There is no outpatient physiotherapy department any more. Think I may ask my gp if he will refer me to a different hospital which is not so much in debt!

Will look in to getting a lung flute too, thanks.

kind regards

swimmer

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After experimenting with mine I got it working quite well, then one of nurses suggested breathing through it slowly ( if you do it too quickly it does not seem to work) and altering the angle until you get the highest resistance, you can feel the ball bouncing up and down.

Then do half a dozen or so slow breathing exercises, in through the nose slowly out through the mouth. A couple more slow blows through the flutter, then a couple of hard blows through it and as the sailors used to say 'up she comes'

This nearly always works for me, don't give up on it I think mine is worth it's weight in gold. It does not work instantly every time, but a good 99% it does.

Good luck

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Thanks moneal for your helpful advice and encouragement. I have tried the flutter several times, but I can't seem to get lungs to give up the very sticky gloop. Some one suggested an acapella device. Maybe that will work better....

Thanks again

swimmer

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I forgot to sat that the doctors gave me Carbocisteine which does help to loosen up the muck, another trick I have found is a microwave bean bag, heated and then placed on the chest, it seems to soften up stubborn mucus, I found I had to experiment with where to put the bag, my best position is just below the neck and running down the chest.

I have tried the accapella, it worked in much the same way, but the hospital tell me it works in all sorts of positions which might make you live easier.

It really is a nightmare of a problem, good luck

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Thanks again moneal

Unfortunately, carbocisteine is not an option as I have IBS, but will try the hot bag or a hot water bottle - that definitely sounds like a solution.

Very best wishes

swimmer

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Now this sound silly, but I was suffering this morning with stubborn mucus. then we had Heinz Tomato and chilli soup for lunch, like magic it freed everything up very quickly.

I used to suffer with IBS but when I was in Spain and coughing well the pharmacist said ' Oh IBS it not matter' when I got back to UK I tried to get the GP to give it me, NO way, then we moved to a new town; a new Rep Nurse and I was asked if I had tried it so I said 'yes it was great' so they gave it me.

Indecently the IBS has just disappeared after five plus years of suffering it just was not there it might have been the location change or the change of job or was it the carbocisteine, we will never know. but I am glad to be free of it.

.

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Heinz tomato and chilli soup sounds good. Am scared to try the carbocisteine,though, as I am reluctant to risk the flare up of IBS.... It is a toss up between breathlessness and fatigue versus pain....

I have a script for carbocisteine but haven't had the courage to try it, yet.

Will let you know if/when I do.

Thanks for all your kind input - greatly appreciated.

swimmer

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It was my son in law who is a doctor in Spain who suggested it originally, I have just chatted to my old doctor In UK they were worried because I had a history of ulcers, no problem with giving it to IBS patients

His parting comment was" remember me talking about wind and using Windeze or similar" which did give a lot of relief I could not believe how much pain you get from wind/indigestion which does seem to come copd and be agony

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