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BACKGROUND: Oscillatory positive expiratory pressure (OPEP) is an airway clearance therapy that delivers positive pressure and air-flow oscillations during exhalation. This study described functional characteristic differences of 4 OPEP devices during an active exhalation in a simulated model. We hypothesized peak pressure (Ppeak), positive expiratory pressure (PEP), oscillatory frequency (f), and pressure amplitude will differ, depending upon the device used, device resistance setting, and time (repeated consecutive active exhalations through the device).
METHODS: The ASL 5000 was scripted to simulate pulmonary mechanics of a pediatric cystic fibrosis patient with moderate to severe lung disease. Airway resistance was standardized at 17.1 cm H2O/L/s, pulmonary compliance at 42.1 mL/cm H2O, active exhalation at 22 breaths/min, and tidal volume at 409 mL. Resistance settings for the Acapella, RC-Cornet, Flutter, and Aerobika were adjusted to low, medium, and high. Values for f, Ppeak, PEP, and pressure amplitude were recorded for 1 min and graphically displayed.
RESULTS: Significant effects for time, device, and resistance (P < .01) were noted for Ppeak, PEP, and pressure amplitude at each resistance level, demonstrating that the devices functioned differently as more than one repetition of a series of consecutive active exhalations are performed. Significant interaction effects for device, resistance level, and time indicate inconsistent output for Ppeak (P < .01), PEP (P < .01), and pressure amplitude (P < .01). Oscillatory f values fell within the respective manufacturers' operational parameters. The Aerobika provided the most consistent pressure amplitude across resistance settings and produced the highest mean pressure amplitude at medium and high resistance settings.
CONCLUSION: Statistically significant and clinically relevant variations in Ppeak, PEP, and pressure amplitude occurred between devices and within a device, as the resistance setting changed. The combination of device, time, and resistance settings affects OPEP device output for pressure, amplitude, and oscillatory frequency. Functional variations may impact therapeutic effectiveness, warranting additional study to determine clinical impact.
- Correspondence: Teresa A Volsko MBA MHHS RRT CMTE FAARC, Akron Children's Hospital, One Perkins Square, Akron, OH 44308. E-mail: .
The authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest.
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