The Basics of a Cystic Fibrosis Vest
There are different kinds of therapies to dislodge sticky mucus in cystic fibrosis (CF), but one of the most commonly used and the most convenient is a high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest.
As the name implies, this vest is basically something a patient would wear for around 10 to 40 minutes. It is mainly used to clear the air passage of the lungs, which is lined with very thick and sticky mucus in cystic fibrosis.
Keeping the lungs free from bacteria is a top priority for CF sufferers as severe pulmonary infections can lead to permanent damage.
How does it work?
A cystic fibrosis vest looks a lot like the life jackets used on boats. It is soft and is usually composed of the following:
- Remote control,
- A power cord,
- A generator for the air pulse.
The tubes are connected to the generator, which will then cause the vest to inflate or deflate. The movement will then allow the muscles and walls of the lungs to either compress or be released, allowing better airflow going in and out of the body.
Eventually, the device will do the following:
- Fragment the mucus and thin it out,
- Push the phlegm upwards by the forced movements of the chest,
- Make little hairs in the airways, called cilia move faster to enable easier transport of the mucus upward.
Why These Kinds of Vests Are in Demand
This cystic fibrosis device is highly sought after by patients of this life-threatening disease for the following reasons:
1. It is something that you can use at home
Because the vest is very portable, it can definitely be utilized at home. Patients can also continue treatment on holiday with these vests.
2. No activity from the patient is required
In contrary to other physical therapies to dislodge sticky mucus, patients aren’t required to do anything with this device. They just need to wear the equipment and let it do its work.
3. Special supervision is not needed
Unlike other types of treatment for the disease, wearing the vest doesn’t really need close attention from a doctor or from any other medical professional. Upon purchase, the patient is provided with instructions on how to use it effectively and correctly. There are also available hotline numbers to call just in case help is needed.
4. It works well together with other kinds of treatments
Because a cystic fibrosis vest is a mechanical device, it is completely independent from other forms of therapy. There will be no conflicting body reactions.
Disadvantages of the device
Although easy to use, the vest is quite expensive. Prices range between 15,000 and 20,000 US dollars.
Because it’s a mechanical device, electricity is needed to operate the device, so patients don’t have freedom in movement during therapy.
How to Buy This Cystic Fibrosis Device
The first person that will recommend a vest will likely be the doctor or physical therapist. They will be glad to give more information about the device. Underneath are two known vests approved by the FDA:
- The Vest
- The SmartVest
Patients can also ask their insurance company, as some of them are giving away a vest in relation to their health insurance policies. Unfortunately, they are not always covered by insurance.
Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.