Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a major worldwide health problem. COPD is not a single disease with a single set of symptoms. Rather, it is an inclusive term that includes several chronic respiratory diseases characterized by cough, mucus production, breathlessness, airflow limitation and impaired gas exchange.
Because COPD typically includes elements of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, the clinical pattern is highly variable.
Chronic bronchitis is characterized by enlargement and multiplication of the mucus glands, resulting in increased mucus production.
- Mucus may become abnormally thick and sticky
- Bronchial walls may become inflamed or fibrotic
- Many patients have low levels of oxygen in their blood
Emphysema is a condition caused by overinflation and distention of the lungs by air, and destructive changes in the alveolar walls
- Labored breathing and severe breathlessness may accompany lung hyperinflation
- Patients with emphysema may also have a component of chronic bronchitis
In many patients with COPD, excess mucus secretion and/or retention of airway mucus are persistent problems. Consequences include:
Airway obstruction and mucus plugging, especially in the small airways, initiates a vicious cycle of:
- Bacterial infection
- Tissue destruction
- Increased clearance impairment
- Increased secretion retention
- Bacterial colonization
Persistent airway obstruction and acceleration of the vicious cycle promotes:
- Infectious bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia
- Air trapping, uneven ventilation, and increased work of breathing
- Increased risk of infection and acute exacerbation
- Increased risk of hospitalization
- Increased risk of mortality
Production of excess mucus is associated with major symptoms in COPD; recent studies demonstrate positive associations between mucus hypersecretion and decline in lung function, hospitalization, and premature death.
To delay disease progression, excess secretions must be mobilized and cleared. Routine administration of aggressive, effective Airway Clearance Therapy is the most reliable means of accomplishing this goal.
Airway Clearance with The Vest® System
The Vest® Airway Clearance System is an easy-to-use medical device for children and adults. The Vest® System is quiet, comfortable and portable. Its features promote user independence and simplify treatment routines.
The Vest® System uses a technology called High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO). The Vest® System has an inflatable garment connected by Air Hoses to an Air Pulse Generator. During therapy, the inflatable garment inflates and deflates rapidly, applying gentle pressure to the chest wall. This works to loosen and thin mucus and to move it toward the larger airways, where it can be cleared by coughing or suctioning.
The Vest® System — Safe and Effective Therapy
HFCWO has been widely described in medical literature. More than 80 studies demonstrate the efficacy and safety of HFCWO for a variety of patients.
Learn more about clinical evidence and support:
- HFCWO (The Vest® System) Research
- Case Study: COPD with Chronic Bronchitis and Bronchiectasis - Tom Hall (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Airway Clearance Needs in COPD: An Overview - Jane Braverman (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Airway Clearance Needs in Bronchiectasis: An Overview - Jane Braverman (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Chest Physiotherapy: The Gold Standard? - Jane Braverman (employed by Hill-Rom)