What is chest percussion?

Chest Percussion

What techniques can help your child cough up mucus caused by cystic fibrosis?

Draining mucus from the lungs and coughing it up can help to clear the lungs. Doing this every day can help your child maintain lung function and avoid problems from mucus.

Here are three ways to help clear your child's lungs. You may hear these called airway clearance techniques, or ACT.

  • Postural drainage uses certain body positions to help clear different parts of the lungs.
  • Chest and back percussion uses clapping (percussing) with a cupped hand, deep breathing, and then vibration to loosen and move mucus.
  • Huffing and coughing. A huff is a forced breath. Huffing helps move mucus up in the lungs. Coughing moves it out.

It's important to keep using these techniques every day, even if you don't notice your child's lungs working better right away. Postural drainage, chest percussion and vibration, and huffing and coughing can work well when used regularly.

As your child gets older, they'll be able to do these techniques on their own. They may use a percussive vest or a positive expiratory pressure (PEP) device.

Your child's care team will make a personal treatment plan that includes airway clearance techniques. These therapies are one part of a larger treatment plan to help keep your child's lungs clear.

How do you do chest percussion?

Chest percussion means that you lightly clap your chest and back. The clapping loosens the mucus in your lungs.

  • Cup your hand, and lightly clap your chest and back.
  • Ask your doctor where the best spots are to clap. Avoid your spine and breastbone.
  • It may be easier to have someone do the clapping for you.

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