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For years, airway clearance therapy (ACT) involved clapping, with cupped hands, on the chest and back to promote mucus clearance. Then came oscillating chest wall devices like the Vest and vibratory positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy devices like the Acapella. To date, there’s a new sound floating on the air waves that’s said to promote safe, effective and gentle ACT like no other alternative. The Vibralung Acoustical Percussor is an airway clearance therapy device that applies vibratory sound waves during the breathing cycle over a wide range of frequencies to loosen mucus in the air passages making it easier to expectorate (cough up).
According to Westmed Incorporated, the Vibralung Acoustical Percussor uses sound waves as its fundamental operating principle. These sound waves, manifested as quasi-musical tones and random noise, are generated by an electronic signal generator and reproduced with a high fidelity loud speaker.
Using a simple mouthpiece assembly, the Vibralung Acoustical Percussor generates sound energy to vibrate the column of gas in a patient’s air passages during both the inspiratory (inhalation) and expiratory (exhalation) phases of breathing. As the patient breathes normally through the mouthpiece, acoustic sound waveforms are superimposed over normal respiratory waveforms and travel throughout the lungs (similar to the ripple effect) via the conducting airway system (from the back of the throat to the smallest bronchioles). The application of this technique requires little effort on the part of the patient because the sound waves pass through normal respiratory pressure waves during resting breathing.
The Vibralung Acoustical Percussor is recommended for patients with respiratory diseases and related conditions that involve:
These conditions are usually seen in patients with cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, pneumonia, ciliary dyskinesia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, post-operative atelectasis plus neuromuscular respiratory impairments, thoracic bellows defects and any other heart and lung or neuromuscular disorder that inhibits an effective cough, mucokinesis (the normal movement of mucus from the lungs to the back of the throat), airway clearance and expectoration.
Along with being easy to operate and battery powered, the Vibralung Acoustical Percussor:
A single treatment with Vibralung Acoustical Percussor lasts 10 minutes although some patients may take two treatments back to back for a total treatment time of 20 minutes. The optimal position for taking a Vibralung treatment is sitting upright in a chair. As patients become more familiar with the device, other positions may be assumed as tolerated.
There are 5 control settings ranging in frequency from low, medium and high, to R2 and R5 (2 to 5 minutes of random noise). Patients may take a single treatment on low, medium or high, or alternately, a treatment on low followed by medium, or medium followed by high. Although there is no single right or wrong protocol, the manufacturer states that low should always precede medium and medium should always precede high.
The Vibralung Acoustical Percussor can be purchased directly from certain medical distributors that handle Westmed products. The order must include a physician’s prescription for use and, if simultaneous use of the aerosol drug delivery system is also desired, must include a prescription for this as well. More information can be obtained by calling 800-975-7987 to speak with a Vibralung clinical specialist who will help you determine if the Vibralung Acoustical Percussor is indicated and how you can go about ordering it.
Westmed Inc. “Vibralung Acoustical Percussor: The New Sound of Airway Clearance Therapy”. Accessed 10/23/2015.
By Deborah Leader RN, BSN, PHN