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Airway Clearance Therapy

High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO)

Please speak to a physiotherapist or your CF medical team before commencing any new treatment. DO NOT start using a device, or technique, on this website if you have not discussed this with your CF team first.  

HFCWO (“Vest” therapy) a device developed in America. Some studies have compared the Vest with other airway clearance devices (including positive expiratory pressure devices) and the patients who used the Vest had more need for treatment with extra antibiotics compared to the patients that were using the positive expiratory pressure devices. 

The Vest is attached to a machine, like a compressor, that sends pulsing air to the inflatable jacket. The air is delivered at a rapid rate and it causes the jacket to vibrate the chest wall. The vibrations aim to help loosen the mucus in the lungs, which may help reduce the thickness of airway mucus, and help move the mucus out of the lungs.  The person using the Vest therapy can change things like the pressure felt on the chest wall, the speed of vibrations, and the total time of treatment. You should work together with your physiotherapist to work out what settings are best for you.

Please consult your CF clinic physiotherapist if you are interested in trialing this device as it requires multiple settings to be optimised based on each person’s individual response. The Vest is not commonly used in Australia due to the cost and the lack of supporting evidence compared with other airway clearance devices and techniques.

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