Cough Assist Machine: Dawn of the Age of Medical Advancements

cough assist machine

A cough assist machine is designed to remove secretions from the lungs by providing breathing assistance. It is useful for those who require respiratory support during muscle wasting conditions.

Before the invention of cough assist machine, the removal of mucus was a big headache for doctors. They used to rely on home remedies and medicines, which often failed to dish out the favorable outcome(s).

So basically, cough machines are used to cause string coughs and thus, help to eliminate mucus without leaving any side effect(s).

When do you need a Cough Assist Machine?

If you look at it critically, normal coughing is a boon. It has a variety of health benefits ranging from treating eating disorders to sabotaging the risks of an infection. We often cough to get rid of the ‘trapped’ phlegm in the airway. Its removal is necessary to keep up a consistent breathing.

However, the devices are primarily used by people suffering from retained secretions (unclear or obstructed airway) and the ones who face difficulty in passing anything down the throat. The advantages of cough assist machines are not limited to these areas only, and they could also be utilized to prevent the risk of an infection as it ‘bombards’ the germs out of your airway.

Multiple Sclerosis

Our brain processes and transfers a significant amount of information within itself and throughout the body. It requires a lot of coordination and immensely efficient systems.

When multiple sclerosis attacks an individual, the Central Nervous System is compromised, and the transfer or flow of information gets less efficient. Even though the exact root of MS is still unknown, scientists believe that it might be caused by a genetic disorder that gets triggered due to an environmental stimulus.

Unfortunately, there is not any cure to sabotage the likelihood of multiple sclerosis, but we do we have a number of ways to lower the frequency of future attacks and treat its symptoms.

It should be noted that sometimes, multiple sclerosis attacks an individual with significantly low intensity and in that case, there is not any (notable) damage to the organs. However, if the intensity is serious, then your lungs might get affected, and as a result, your breathing will be compromised.

In such situations, cough assist machines come into play to relieve the breathing process.

Myasthenia Gravis

This disease targets your voluntary muscles, spread throughout the body. It makes you feel the adversity by causing weakness and lethargic movements. The muscle efficiency gets more undermined when the individual indulges in an activity. However, during rest, the symptoms are way more ‘calm.’

Here is something crucial to notice. When an individual is hit by a low or mild intensity of Myasthenia Gravis, the ‘mere’ symptom of weakness might not indicate a bigger trouble (maybe for a couple of years). But as soon as it gets diagnosed, you must respond in the most befitting and least invasive way.

Often, electrical devices are used to boost up the transmission of electrical signals to the muscles, but if the muscles in your respiratory track happen to be the prime targets, then you could do something even better. In such a situation, the use of cough assist machines is vital. But you should be very careful about its pressure adjustment because an excessive strain on the muscles could produce unwanted results.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Once again, the exact cause of this terrifying disease is unknown. However, it is a rare condition in which the immune system gets compromised and attacks your Peripheral Nervous System. As a result, the continuous ‘unwanted’ action leads to muscle weakness and ultimately the individual could be paralyzed as well.

It is very interesting to note that even though the syndrome’s cause is unknown, a significant number of people manage to recover fully, without any recurrence or implications in the future.

Until now, researches claim that it might be triggered due to the immune system’s ‘mistaken’ response to a previous illness. However, if the conditions get worse, then it mightinterfere with your breathing, and ultimately, the patient is put on a ventilator.

But if the conditions allow, doctors could use an even better technique to restore the troubled breathing by using the cough assist machines.

Spinal Muscle Atrophy

It is referred to as genetic motor neuron disease because its prime target is the nerve cells that control voluntary movement of certain muscles. As you can see, its ultimate target are the muscles.

Since the disease traces its link back to genetics, it is not possible to treat it. The only way to ‘relieve’ the patient is to focus on symptoms and treat them with utmost care.

Since the disease affects muscles, its quite probable target includes the breathing system as well. Now as soon as you feel it happening, you should not waste any time and start using the cough assist machine on a regular basis to stimulate your muscles responsible for breathing (doctor’s consultation required).


More commonly known as ‘polio,’ Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease caused by a virus. It is very fortunate to tell you that polio is fully preventable by taking necessary vaccination in the elementary years of life.

However, if you have been attacked by the virus, then there is no way to finish this off, and you are bound to suffer throughout the life. Although you could still treat your symptoms to feel better.

The most common prey site of poliovirus is legs and the areas around legs. However, it could affect your diaphragm, neck and head muscles as well.

Considering our case, if the diaphragm muscles are damaged, your breathing might be compromised, and you might face difficulty in coughing and swallowing. Here, the cough assist machines into play again and enable the patient to live through the symptoms ‘a bit’ comfortably.

Benefits of Cough Assist Machine

A cough assist machine is a useful and painless method for treating retained secretions.It offers an overwhelming amount of ease. Life on ventilator might cause some discomfort (and huge bills as well!) while cough assist machine enables you to avail the treatment from the luxury of your bed. Here are further benefits of cough assist machine.

  • Eliminates secretion from the lungs
  • Noninvasive Approach
  • Easy to operate and safe in the use
  • Removes respiratory infections
  • Lessens the probability of catching an infection
  • Strengthens lungs against bacterial infections
  • Easier to breathe after treatment

Apart from all these advantages, you should consider one significant aspect as well – the machines are not quite wallet friendly.

benefits cough assist machine

How does it Work?

Cough assist machine works on the concept of positive and negative pressures. A face mask (attached to the machine) is tightly placed on the face. However, it is necessary that gas does not leak through the mask and enter your lungs.

Therefore, you should maintain the pressure and gas level in such a way that patient doesnot find any inconvenience during the whole process. The machine provides a positive pressure and expands the lungs when the patient breathes in while it exerts negative pressure on breathing out. Negative pressure works as a suction and helps to cause stronger cough. The rapid shift of negative and positive pressures improves the respiratory system and clears secretions present in the way of the breathing process. It improves the airway of the patient without any negative impact and helps the lungs to work in optimum conditions.

Things to consider while using a Cough Assist machine

Operating a cough assist machine is quite simple and easy process, but there are certain things you should not ignore if you want to maximize its benefits.

It is all about adjusting the knob to regulate pressure and other functions. As soon as you ‘master the art’ of maintaining all the ‘variables’ involved in coughing, you are good to go.

  • The power switch is the most important knob that has two symbols ‘I’ and ‘O.’ ‘I’ implicates ON symbol while ‘O’ means OFF.
  • Inhale function determines the pressure required to inhale the gas in the lungs, and it’s called positive pressure.
  • Exhale pressure is the negative pressure to get the air out of the lungs. This pressure creates suction and helps to remove secretion.
  • Inhale flow enables you to set the amount of flow required for breathing. It has two basic modes of operation. The ‘full’ mode provides you with maximum inhale pressure while the ‘reduced’ mode diminishes inhale pressure.
  • Use ‘PAUSE’ option for the settings of last negative pressure and next positive pressure
  • You can use the automatic/manual knob for switching from automatic to manual pressure adjustment, and vice versa.
  • Set cycles and make sure that you are not setting them continuously for very prolonged periods.

Best Cough Assist Machines

Cough Assist T70

It is the latest model of a cough assist machine by Respironics. The machine comes with advanced functions and the latest equipment. It safely removes secretions by providing effective positive and negative pressure. Quality inhalers maximize the pressure in lungs and produce a high respiratory flow.


The use of machine minimizes the risks of pneumonia and infections, while it expels 29% more mucus than any other cough assist machine. Mechanical ventilation option gives useful results for respiratory problems faced by the patients present on ventilation. It improves SpO2 in ALS and clears out the blocked airways.

It is less irritating and less painful machine with dimensions 11.5’x9.1’x7.5’. You can set maximum positive and maximum negative pressures to 70 cm H2O and -70 cm H2O, respectively.

Other options include persisting capability, atmospheric pressure option, and two operation modes.

Following are the product components of the machines:

  • SD CARD and hose clip
  • AC power cord and powerful batteries
  • Air filter and 6-foot patient circuit
  • Carry case and value evaluator

PHILIPS Airway Clearance Device

PHILIPS is an advanced airway clearance device to remove mucus from lungs and reduce the discomfort. Cough-Track synchronizes the device with the breathing patterns of the patient. User-friendly interface makes its use easy and understandable.

Accessories include foot pedals for hands-free operation.

Check the oxygen saturation with the help of oximetry accessory. This option also displays heart rate and SpO2 readings on the screen. Doctors and physicians term it the best device due to its data management and clinical evaluation system.


The advancement in technology has brought a great deal of comfort. For instance, if we take the example of cough assist machine only, it has resolved a number of issues, and on the long term, a significant amount of cash is saved as well.

Apart from that, it has brought a lot of comforts, and the weak patients could even be treated remotely, without having to be transferred to any hospital.

Probably the greatest advantage is its least invasive approach. Earlier, whenever a patient used to suffer from any breathing or muscle related difficulty, he was usually put on heavy medication, inhalers and other rather ‘dreadful’ equipment material hanging over the body. Now, things have changed, and all we need is a portable equipment that could be connected to an electric port, and you are good to breathe comfortably again.

However, there is something critical to be recalled before using any such device. Whether you are suffering from any medical condition or not, you should consult a doctor before depending on any a cough assist machine. Whenever there is an issue related to pertaining weakness and troubled breathing, you should not just become your doctor and put on the mask.

All of the variables (e.g. pressure) involved in breathing should be monitored very carefully, and the respiratory system should not be exerted more than its capacity. Remember, it is for medical use, not for a respiratory exercise!

Furthermore, if you ever notice any change in the usual biological functions of your body, then you must consult a doctor and update him.

If the doctor allows, then these machines can also be used on a regular basis but again, he should update you about the settings required for your condition.

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