For children that are prone to repeated chest infections and pneumonias, physical chest physiotherpay is a good option to use in conjunction with antibiotics or in some cases, as an alternative therapy.
Chest physiotherapy can be performed manually or with the aid of a percussion vest.
Percussion vests use pulse vibrations to move secretions from the small airways to the larger airways making them easier to
cough or remove by suction. It also thins thicker secretions again making them easier to expel.
Therapy times can be varied to suit your child and repeated as often as required depending on the individuals need.
In some cases where repeated antibiotic use has caused children to become resistant, where oral antibiotics cause upset
tummies, or where repeated IV attempts have made a child's veins fragile, then these vests may offer a more appealing
treatment for infection or even for straightforward congestion.
Micah who is a friend of Niamh's used this vest very successfully and his mummy Rachel has given some information on her
experience of the Pro's and Cons:
- The vest reduced the duration of Micah's infections.
- It avoided the need for Micah to have repeated oral or IV line antibiotics.
- The equipment is portable allowing Micah to have therapy outside the home or hospital setting.
- All instructions on how to use, were given to the parents over the phone and they commented on how easy the
equipment was to operate, including the initial setting up of the machine.
- Micah did not object to his sessions and on occasion he would vocalise during these.
- Rachel and her family thought very highly about the vest as a treatment for Micah.
- Occasionally during times of illness the sessions had to be skipped as they sometimes caused Micah to gag.
- If the child has a gastrostomy then any movement/friction on their button/stoma may cause irritation or bleeding but this can be minimised by using foam around the feed site. Prolonged use may cause problems with bleeding if this area is already leaky, loose or not completely healed.
- Rachel's experience was that Micah could not feed an hour or so each side of therapy. This regieme may be difficult to accommodate if a child is on continuous feeds.