Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Airway Clearance

The Cystic Fibrosis Center cares for more than 175 pediatric patients in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Sarasota and surrounding areas.

Airway clearance is vital for people with cystic fibrosis. The lungs build up sticky, thick mucus, which trap in bacteria and leads to an increase of chronic respiratory infections. Airway clearance is designed to help rid the lungs of this excess mucus by utilizing inhaled medications in combination with varied therapies which moves mucus up and out of the lungs. These therapies are designed to work best when performed twice daily, with an increase up to four times daily if ill.

Possible Techniques Include

  • Chest Percussion Therapy (CPT) aka manual percussion
  • Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP)
  • High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation aka “Vest”
  • Huffing Coughs
  • Acapella Device
  • Flutter Device
  • Aerobika Device

Possible Medications Used

  • Hypertonic saline
  • Dornase-alfa (Pulmozyme)
  • bronchodilators


What are my airway clearance options?

Airway clearance techniques reduce lung infections and  improve lung functions. The team at the Cystic Fibrosis Center can help you choose the best airway clearance techniques for your child and also help make good decisions on other treatments.

Germs and CF

The faulty gene that causes cystic fibrosis disrupts the normal flow of salt and water in and out of the lungs and other organs. This salt imbalance results in thick, sticky mucus that builds up in the lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply.

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