Active Cycle of Breathing alongside ... - British Lung Foun...

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Active Cycle of Breathing alongside Nebulisers


Not sure if everyone with bronchiectasis has to do this, but my mum does physiotherapy and other techniques alongside the nebuliser ( saline, plus salbutamol when needed) e.g. one method is called The Active Cycle of Breathing which helps her a lot to get the phlegm up and her oxygen saturation levels back to normal. There are many websites that show how to do this but do find a reputable one e.g. NHS as doing it wrong can cause the problem to get worse. It may not help everyone and it is time consuming and exhausting for my mum (and me who helps her) - but it helped her a lot and she hasn't had an infection for 5 months (so far - touch wood!) The consultant also said that blowing through a straw helps too .

9 Replies

Hi Response, it is THE most important thing that your Mum can do for herself. Getting the mucus out of the lungs is so important because the warm little pools are where the bugs like to party and breed.

She doesn’t have to go mad at it and wear herself out though. Just gently will do.

I have been doing my own version since I was a child and I am 68 now. I was doing it in the days when physios believed in hanging you over a frame, bashing your back and making you cough REALLY hard. Oh boy did they argue with me about it , but guess what, now it is standard. In other words, as long as your Mum works out which way helps her to clear out her lungs as comfortably as possible that is great.

Well done your Mum for taking control. I gather that she is not needing any form of antibiotic therapy at present which is marvellous. I am colonised with pseudomonas but have managed to keep myself off any form of ab for over a year now. Just nebulising isotonic saline and ventolin plus REALLY GOOD LUNG CLEARANCE.

Fingers crossed that we both carry on well.

Don’t forget that if she picks up a virus and notices a change in her bronch to make sure that she gets her abs pronto. I am presuming that she has a bronch specialist who has told her GP, which ab, in what dose and for at least 14 days. If not, do help her to get one. Not a general respiratory consultant as they don’t have the training or experience in a very complex condition.

You are a wonderful daughter (?) to be so involved. My kids have just let me get on with it because they have grown up knowing no different.

Tree20862 in reply to Hidden

"warm little pools where the bugs like to party and breed" wonderful description!

Your Mum and you are being very proactive. Here is a link - scroll down to Lung Clearance and there are videos. Very reputable site European Respiratory Society - I was fortunate enough to be involved as part of a patient representative group - so not biased at all!


Poppins23 in reply to cofdrop-UK

Thank you for the link. I've just looked at the site and found it very useful.


Re the straw technique.

I was told about this by my physio at pulmonary rehab. He said that is used in hospitals as an alternative to some very expenses devices. It is equally effective and costs virtually nothing. All you do is put a straw in a tumbler half full with water and blow through it slowly and inhale and repeat. It causes vibrations in the lungs which help with your lung clearance.

Good on you for looking after your Mum.


Hidden in reply to Burbagegran

That sounds fun. Would break the boredom of using the various flutter devices


coral12 in reply to Burbagegran

Hi iv just been in hosp for 1 an half weeks with flu an chest infection .on oxygen for 5 days as a couldnt maintain above 89-92 on my own . i was given a acepella which u blow slowly into which vibrates .to help clear mucus

I agree with littlepom, gently does it. A Chinese acupuncturist once told me that coughing vigorously (which is what I used to do) stimulates the lungs to cough more.

And definitely keeping the lungs as clear as possible is extremely important.

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