Diseases and conditions that cause impaired airway clearance

cac_disease_conditionsA range of diseases and conditions — including many genetic, neuromuscular and immunological disorders — can cause chronically compromised airway clearance. High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) is routinely prescribed for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), bronchiectasis, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, quadriplegia and the combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis commonly known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While not all health insurers reimburse for HFCWO as a COPD treatment, it’s a good idea to discuss the option with your doctor and insurance company.

The diseases and conditions listed below are among those that can impair airway clearance, and for which HFCWO has been prescribed by physicians and reimbursed by insurance providers.

Acid Maltase Deficiency and other deficiencies of circulating enzymes

Anterior Horn Cell Diseases

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 
  • Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy Unspecified
  • Kugelberg-Welander Disease
  • Other Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Progressive Muscular Atrophy
  • Progressive Bulbar Palsy
  • Pseudobulbar Palsy
  • Primary Lateral Sclerosis
  • Other Motor Neuron Diseases
  • Other Anterior Horn Cell Diseases
  • Anterior Horn Cell Disease Unspecified



Bronchial Stenosis*

Cerebral Palsy*

CHARGE Syndrome*


  • Emphysema*
  • Chronic Bronchitis*

Cystic Fibrosis


Multiple Sclerosis

Muscular Dystrophies

  • Congenital Hereditary Muscular Dystrophy
  • Hereditary Muscular Dystrophy

Myotonic Disorders

  • Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myotonia Congenital
  • Myotonic Chondrodystrophy
  • Drug Induced Myotonia
  • Other Specified Myotonic Disorder

Other Myopathies

  • Toxic Myopathy
  • Myopathy in Endocrine Diseases Classified Elsewhere
  • Symptomatic Inflammatory Myopathy in Diseases Classified Elsewhere

Disorders of the Diaphragm


Post Lung Transplant*

Post Polio Syndrome

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia*


  • Quadriplegia Unspecified
  • Quadriplegia C1-C4 Complete
  • Quadriplegia C1-C4 Incomplete
  • Quadriplegia C5-C7 Complete
  • Quadriplegia C5-C7 Incomplete
  • Other Quadriplegia


Spinal Cord Injury*

Spinal Muscular Atrophy*


Tracheal Stenosis*

*Indicates a disease or condition for which, with proper documentation and a Statement of Medical Necessity (SMN), insurance reimbursement for HFCWO might be approved upon appeal.