Positive expiratory pressure mask
What is a positive expiratory pressure mask?
A positive expiratory pressure (PEP) mask is a facial mask connected to a breathing valve which creates resistance on exhalation (breathing out) to help remove secretions (phlegm) from the lungs.
The patient will put the facial mask on, and be instructed to inhale (breathe in) through the inspiratory port; the mask will then provide positive pressure on exhalation (breathing out). This pressure helps keep the airways open longer during exhalation, and the resistance created allows air to get behind the secretions helping push them up and out of the lungs.
Your respiratory physiotherapist will carry out a full respiratory assessment to decide whether a PEP mask might be able to help you clear your secretions. Should your physiotherapist feel a PEP mask may be beneficial, they will then choose an appropriate valve to determine the levels of pressure exerted on expiration.
What are the benefits of a PEP mask?
By helping you remove your secretions, the PEP mask has a number of benefits:
- Makes breathing feel easier
- Reduces your risk of developing a chest infection
- Reduces shortness of breath
- Decreases wheezing
- Can be used in conjunction with postural drainage positions
- Can be used independently by patient without the need for supervision
- Can be progressed quickly and easily by addition of a different pressure valve
Who would benefit from using a PEP mask?
People with a respiratory condition that struggle to clear their secretions would benefit from a PEP mask. This may be due to an ineffective cough or increased volume or thickness of secretions. Conditions that would benefit include: online booking system