Mucus in the lungs is not healthy for an individual. There are times when they even thicken. This makes clearing the airway hard. If this mucus is left there in the airway, there is a possibility that they block them there, which makes it hard for the individual to breath. If this stays that way and the mucus are left in the airway, there is a possibility of infections being developed.
A flutter valve is a device used to clear the lungs with mucus and makes breathing easier. It helps in loosening up the mucus, which then makes it easier for the lungs to cough them off.
Inside this flutter valve, there is a small ball of steel. It is a valve that has the shape of a cone. As the person using it exhales, that ball will be moving up and down. This movement achieves three things:
Vibrates the airway – This loosens ups the mucus in the walls of your airway.
Endobronchial pressure increase – It helps in maintaining the airway patency while in the process of exhaling. This way, the mucus is not trapped in the airway, as it is moving.
Expiratory airflow acceleration – This facilitates the movement of the mucus as it moves upward through airways. This way, clearing it is easier.
These things are good because the vibration is opening up the airways, which then facilitate the mucus movement. This also helps in making the individual exhale against the resistance. This is what makes positive pressure. This is the same pressure that let the mucus from the peripheral airways to move to the central airways that are larger so as they can finally be coughed out.
Types of Flutter Valves
There are 2 types of flutter valve that you can choose from:
High Flow or green Flutter Valve – This is the flutter valve for those users who can exhale 15 or more liters per minute within three seconds or less. Most of the flutter valve users are using this one.
Low Flow or Blue Flutter Valve – This type of flutter valve is made for the users who have lower lung volume.
How to Use Flutter Valve
For flutter valve to be effective, the patient should use it properly and accordingly. How? Here is the complete guide as to how flutter valve is used.
Sit in a chair with your back straight. Tilt your head slightly upward so as your upper airway will be open wide. This way, the air you exhaled air is allowed to flow smoothly out.
Breathe in slowly. Your breathing should be deeper than the normal one. Hold your breath for 2 to 3 seconds.
The flutter shall be held wherein its stem is horizontal with the floor. The cone must be placed in a slight tilt. The tilt will guarantee that during the exhalation, the ball will bounce and roll. Let it be known to you that the way you hold the flutter valve on the process is critical.
Put the flutter then in your mouth then close your lips around its stem.
The flutter then must be positioned at a proper angle. Upon the position is right, blow out air. Your blows must be longer and faster than normal.
Repeat the first 5 steps for 5 to 10 times. While doing it, refrain yourself from coughing regardless of how much you felt like it.
After that, you need to take a full and deep breath into your lungs. Try to hold that breathe for 2 to 3 minutes.
Through flutter, blow as forcefully as you can until you can no longer blow air on it. As you do this, make sure that the ball bounces and rolls while you are blowing out.
Repeat steps 7 to 8 for 1 more time. If you can do it twice, the better.
After the forceful exhalation is repeated, you can now cough the mucus out of your chest. This process should then clear your chest.
As you are doing the above steps, here are some of the things you should remember:
As you are blowing out air, make sure that your cheeks are kept tight and flat. This is important to be noted so as for the vibrations be absorbed in the lungs and not in the cheeks.
The flutter can be moved to a variety of positions until the angle wherein the fluttering sensation and strongest vibrations are found.
You can ask for other people’s help in determining when the strongest flutter sensation is achieved. Through placing one hand on your chest and the other on your back, determining I will be easy for that person. As you blow out, they will feel the vibrations through the chest, which enables them to determine it.
When Must Flutter Valve be used?
In determining when you should be using a flutter valve or how often you should be doing so, you would need to ask for a healthcare professional’s opinion. They will usually recommend to use it for a morning, evening or even late afternoon session. Depending on the condition of your respiratory system, the usual length of a session last for 5 to 15 minutes. Thus, doing this can make a person overly tired. This is something you should avoid. Instead of trying to complete a whole session and push yourself too much, you can add a shorter session as an extra. There is no need for you to sacrifice your own comfort for this.
When you are feeling some difficulty and problems are encountered during the use of flutter valve, you should always contact your healthcare professional first. They can give you the proper guidance as to how you can find the comfort you need.
When it comes to the use of such device, you should always seek for the recommendation and expert opinion to be sure. The frequency of flutter valve use and the session duration must always be determined by a healthcare professional. Do not make a decision for yourself. You should always let the expert guide you so as you can do it properly and get the result you wanted. The flutter valve therapy is not time-based but rather it is a goal-based. This means that you will not know how long you should be doing the activity.
Comparison to Other Device
Flutter Valve is highly compared to the Acapella ones. Flutter is clinically evaluated and proves to aid mucus production. On the other hand, Acapella combines PEP and high-frequency oscillation principles. Both of these devices can generate oscillation and PEP. For the flutter, it was possible due to the use of gravity force while Acapella uses the magnetic attraction force. Many deduce that the expiratory pressure that these devices produce is almost the same.
Research shows that the pressure waveforms that these two produces are similar at medium flows. However, when you test the extreme flow, their results already differ.
The air flow oscillations produced by the Acapella is more stable. Furthermore, the generated oscillations of higher amplitude produced by Acapella are more consistent than that of Flutter. That build-up of higher pressure results in subsequent flow burst that is higher. Many presume that this will then provide a greater transport effect for the mucus. Thus, this shows that this can be used for those patients with the low expiratory flow. However, it is still being determined if a patient can perfume the therapy while in the bedside. This makes buying a package of acapella a waste of time and money if the patient is found out to be unable to perform it in the end.
Using flutter valve is proven an effective way of clearing the airways of mucus. With simple steps, we can achieve that goal. All we need is to ensure that we are doing it properly and accordingly. Flutter Valve is not the only device for this matter that exists. Many are there to compete with it such as the Acapella.
The flutter serves as a positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy for patients with a chronic pulmonary disease such as asthma, atelectasis, bronchitis and more. This can help in promoting an effective pattern for breathing and improve the ventilation’s gas exchange along its distribution. It has been proven an effective way to improve the peripheral and central airway function. It can even reverse or prevent Atelectasis.
When using flutter, you should always seek a healthcare professional’s guidance and assistance before you use it for the first time. Let them help you determine how often you should use it and how long your sessions should be. It is important that you check it out with them, as they will also need to determine the condition of your respiratory system to make sure that you are ready and fit for this therapy.
Flutter valve is effective in clearing your chest with the mucus. For best result, you just need to ask for an expert’s opinion and their recommendation so as you can do it properly and get the result you deserve.