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Acapella, Flutter, Vest, or Manual CPT

Vest while WorkingLet’s get some community feedback going for the masses with this topic. It’s something we’re all familiar with unless your mutation rocks and your lungs are pristine without this much treatment. You are welcome here, anyway, but you are a rarity.

I’ve had all four of these in my years. About 13 years of manual chest physiotherapy, a couple of years trying Flutter in the car on the way to school functions, years of non-compliance with the very old Hill-Rom Vest that never stayed turned on because of that stupid foot pedal, and now a new inCourage Vest and Acapella.

Here are my thoughts and results from each:

  • Manual CPT – In my opinion, this is THE best method for airway clearance when done properly. The downsides are the obvious space/time requirement, as well as a willing second party unless you’re somehow able to do it yourself. You can’t help but cough if you have anything in a particular lobe that needs to come out. If I had unlimited time and resources, I’d opt to have this as my treatment, but I have a life/job, and so does Beautiful. It just wouldn’t work for us.
  • Flutter – I’d rank this as the second best. I was able to get the percussion sensation longer with Flutter than Acapella, so I think it did more, and I seem to remember it being a stronger feeling, even though the Acapella is adjustable. It’s so small, it’s ridiculous, not to mention it only being 3 parts and the easiest thing in our arsenal to keep sterile.
  • Vest – Not all vests are created equal. I couldn’t be happier with my inCourage Vest system that I got last August, but it serves a purpose, but not the one I thought. I don’t go crazy coughing with it, but it does a fantastic job alleviating any wheezing I have at the time. It’s quite expensive, even with insurance (our durable medical equipment co-pay was still $1200, and I have an excellent HMO package. Is it worth it to me? Absolutely.
  • Acapella – I have 2 of them that I bought out of pocket because my HMO wouldn’t pay for the device. I was keeping one in the car for my way to school if I had a wheeze and I keep one by my Vest. I find using both the Flutter and Acapella exhausting to use because of the deep breathing and strenuous spasms that follow, but I know they work.

Which method(s) is/are your preference for airway clearance?