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What is a cough assist machine?

The cough assist machine helps clear secretions (phlegm) by providing pressure support to assist breathing.

Active cycle of breathing and postural drainage exercises supervised by a specialist therapistAbove: Active cycle of breathing and postural drainage exercises supervised by a specialist therapist

The machine is connected to a facemask which must be positioned securely upon your face to ensure no leakage of air or pressure loss. When you breathe in, the machine will help by providing a positive pressure that will expand the lungs. When you breathe out the machine will help by exerting a negative pressure that will act like a sucking force to pull air back and out of your lungs. This swift change of pressure between the stages of breathing elicits a strong effective cough.

You will complete a number of cycles (between 4 and 6) before having a rest during which you can cough out any secretions which may have been loosened up.

Your physiotherapist will teach you how to use the machine and ensure you are comfortable with the controls upon it and understand what each control does and why it is important with regards to your condition. Your respiratory physiotherapist will set the initial pressures quite low, these can be altered as you progress, working up to achieving an optimal pressure to promote the most effective cough.

What are the benefits of a cough assist machine?

The cough assist machine provides a safe, non-invasive alternative to suctioning, to remove secretions from the lungs. Removal of secretions is important as it significantly decreases the risk of developing a chest infection. Once practiced, the patient can use the device within their own home, and progress as able.

Who would benefit from a cough assist machine?

Patients with retained secretions which they are unable to clear due to their weak ineffective cough would benefit from using a cough assist machine. Their inability to produce a strong effective cough could be because of a number of reasons including: To find out if a cough assist machine would be beneficial in the management of your respiratory condition, call today on 0330 088 7800 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, make an appointment online today!

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