People who suffer from cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have difficulty breathing as their lungs cannot function very well. In most cases, the lungs are filled with mucous, which is a principal factor to the breathing problems. One of the solutions to help those patients is the use of a medical device known as the flutter valve.
What is a Flutter Valve?
Also known as Acapella Valve, the flutter valve aids the lungs to function. For one, it removes the air from the chest tube and at the same time, keeps the air out from the lungs. It can also be integrated in a cylinder through which patients breathe out. For those who suffer from phlegm-infected lungs, the acapella valve is also used to suck out the mucus. In cases such as pneumothorax, the flutter valve is enclosed in a plastic, which is used to remove the air from chest cavity.
Some Flutter Valves are designed into a portable device built for patients to breathe through. In this case, the valve attached in a cylinder takes the form of a cone. Inside the valve is a ball.
How Does a Flutter Valve Work?
The flutter valve is a small device, which is usually held by hands and takes the form of a pipe. On one end is a plastic mouthpiece, while on the other is a perforated cover made also of a plastic material. There is also a ball made from stainless-steel inside the cone. It works in three ways:
- It vibrates the airways and thus, loosens the mucous.
- It keeps the airways during exhalation, open.
- To induce mucous removal, the flutter valve creates “mini-coughs”.
To use the acapella flutter, the patient holds it in horizontal on a sitting position. Then, the patient is instructed to breathe in and hold the breath for two or three seconds before exhaling into the flutter. The vibrations in the patient’s airways can be adjusted by making adjustments on the degree in holding the device.