Ever since high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) devices were developed to help patients with cystic fibrosis breathe easier, clinical researchers have required appropriate parameters to assess the efficacy of HFCWO-based therapies. It is common practice to look at three main indicators of pulmonary and overall health: mucus clearance — which is especially important for cystic fibrosis patients, clinical measurements, and pulmonary function tests.
Interestingly, two of these seemingly distinct measures — mucus clearance and pulmonary function — are related. When mucus is cleared from the lungs, the lungs seem to be more effective in normal function, as demonstrated by a handful of studies investigating HFCWO-mediated or high frequency chest compression (HFCC)-mediated mucus clearance in patients with cystic fibrosis. These devices apply cyclical pressure to the chest to help move, break up, and clear mucus from the lungs.
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