Effective airway clearance therapies

hfcwo_therapy_adherenceAs with any treatment, airway clearance therapies must be adhered to consistently to have their intended benefit. Unfortunately, research by the World Health Organization found that only 50 percent of patients with a chronic disease or condition adhere to their therapies consistently.

“The consequences of poor adherence to long-term therapies are poor health outcomes and increased health care costs,” according to the WHO, which warns that incomplete adherence:

  • Results in less than optimal management and control of illness
  • Severely compromises the effectiveness of treatment
  • Causes medical and psychosocial complications of disease
  • Reduces patients’ quality of life
  • Wastes health care resources

Promoting therapy adherence

Fortunately, high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) offers advantages that encourage patients to stick with their therapy:

  • Patient independence. HFCWO was developed as a more time- and place-flexible, cost-effective alternative to chest physiotherapy (CPT). Approximately 90 percent of patients self-administer HFCWO at home, eliminating dependence on the availability of a therapist or caregiver. Having an HFCWO system at home offers round-the-clock access to therapy.
  • Therapeutic effectiveness. Most patients feel improved breathing from their first HFCWO session, motivating them to continue. While the quality of CPT will vary based on each therapist’s technique and stamina, HFCWO delivers consistent therapy automatically. In fact, by treating all lobes of the lungs at once, it matches or exceeds CPT’s effectiveness in a fraction of the time. Most therapy sessions with a SmartVest® System from Electromed are less than 30 minutes.
  • Ergonomic comfort. Unlike CPT, which requires a variety of head-down positions (including a few some patients can’t tolerate), HFCWO therapy can be done while comfortably seated, reclining or standing. The high-frequency squeezes are gentle, compared with CPT’s clapping on the chest and back. Children who poorly tolerate other therapies often enjoy HFCWO.
  • Lifestyle convenience. While head-down positioning makes it impractical to do much else during CPT and other coughing techniques, HFCWO lets patients read, socialize, watch TV, use a computer — all while doing therapy. The best HFCWO systems are so easy to operate, young children can take therapy with minimal adult supervision.

Patients feel the difference in their breathing. Comfort and convenience features make it amenable to daily life. As a result, patients tend to follow HFCWO therapy as prescribed, which translates to better breathing, improved health, and enhanced quality of life.