A patient that treats her impaired airway clearance with SmartVest uses her therapy while answering work emails.
Understanding the Symptoms

What Does Impaired Airway Clearance Mean?

Your body should naturally and effectively clear mucus from your lungs.

When certain diseases and conditions weaken normal airways, your body has trouble clearing mucus on its own and needs help.

You likely experience both good days and bad days or “flare ups” known as exacerbations, or a temporary worsening of symptoms. There are many different conditions that share symptoms of impaired airway clearance:

  • A common symptom of impaired airway clearance is a chronic cough that produced mucus.

    Chronic cough that produces mucus in lungs

  • A common symptom of impaired airway clearance is recurring respiratory infections.

    Recurring respiratory infections

  • A common symptom of impaired airway clearance is breathlessness.

    Breathlessness and wheezing

  • A common symptom of impaired airway clearance is general fatigue.

    General fatigue

  • Photo of Caleb, an entrepreneur and SmartVest user with cystic fibrosis.
    [SmartVest] only has one tube, so I can actually lay in bed with it.

    Caleb Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Beneficial:
    My daughter has a SmartVest…it’s a lifesaver!

    Pam Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
Illustration of an older bronchiectasis patient that uses SmartVest to treat his impaired airway clearance.
Stop the Cycle

What is Bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis (brong-kee-EK-tuh-sis) is an irreversible, chronic condition where airways in your lungs (bronchi) become damaged and abnormally widened from recurring inflammation or infection.

As your airways are repeatedly damaged, your lungs slowly lose their ability to mobilize and clear mucus. This makes it easier for bacteria to infect your lungs. Each recurring infection causes more damage to your airways, which over time weakens their ability to move air in and out.

  • Infection

    Lungs are damaged by bacteria, viruses, fungi, allergens, and other irritants.

  • Inflammation

    Your body responds to infected airways by inflammation and additional mucus creation.

  • Damage

    Airways slowly become ineffective at clearing mucus and breathing normally.

Pathways to Damaged Lungs

Other Conditions

There are a range of diseases and conditions that can hinder your ability to clear your airways.

As your airways lose the ability to clear mucus, permanent lung damage becomes increasingly likely.

  • Illustration of an older SmartVest Airway Clearance System patient with COPD.


    People living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have similar symptoms to bronchiectasis, including frequent pneumonias, inflammation, and permanent lung damage.

  • Illustration of a middle-aged SmartVest user with muscular dystrophy.


    A general term that refers to impaired muscular and nervous system functions that may affect a person’s ability to naturally clear mucus from their lungs.

  • Illustration of a young SmartVest Airway Clearance system patient with cystic fibrosis.

    Cystic Fibrosis

    A genetic condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs.

  • Photo of Leslie Carpenter, CRT, a practitioner who recommends SmartVest.
    Patients will say, “I slept all night for the first time in years,” or, “I could walk to the mailbox.”

    Leslie Carpenter, CRT
  • Zackery and Christian, a pediatric SmartVest users with cystic fibrosis
    They both got their SmartVests at the age of about 18 months and are now 10 and 9!

    Jillian, Mom of Zackery and Christian Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Effective:
    [SmartVest] does very well helping keep his lungs clear.

    Elizabeth, Clint's Mom Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Photo of Dean Bleadorn, RRT, RCP, SmartVest advocate.
    I always have my staff evaluate the equipment and they liked the SmartVest system better.

    Dean Bleadorn, RRT, RCP
A pediatric SmartVest Airway Clearance System patient plays video games and relaxes while using his SmartVest.
Preventing Permanent Lung Damage

How is Impaired Airway Clearance Treated?

Clearing mucus from the lungs with a combination of medication and airway clearance techniques helps to improve symptoms and reduce complications of impaired airway clearance.

Common treatment approaches include:

  • Manual Chest Physiotherapy

    Several times a day using various positions, a therapist or caregiver manually claps on the patient's chest wall to help move the mucus into the larger airways.

  • Breathing Techniques

    Breathing techniques, such as autogenic drainage and the active cycle of breathing technique, use controlled breathing to loosen and mobilize mucus.

  • Antibiotic Regimens

    Antibiotic therapy plays a central role in treating acute infections, and performs well when combined with airway clearance therapies as a long-term solution.

  • OPEP Devices

    Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) devices create resistance and vibrations while exhaling, which helps to clear mucus from the airways.

  • SmartVest

    A high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) vest, SmartVest thins, shears, and propels mucus from the lungs, moving it toward major airways where it can be easily coughed out.

A SmartVest Airway Clearance user competes a crossword puzzle while comfortably wearing his SmartVest.
Outsmart the Cycle of Chronic Lung Infection

Smart Results with SmartVest

The SmartVest Airway Clearance System is an effective, convenient, and comfortable solution to improving airway clearance.

The effectiveness of our chest physiotherapy vest was proven in two recently published case review outcomes-based studies. The studies compared how SmartVest affected the frequency and related costs of antibiotic prescriptions, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits for people with bronchiectasis.

SmartVest users in the outcomes-based case review study experienced remarkable results:

  • SmartVest users in the study reduced their antibiotic prescriptions by 57%.

    reduction in antibiotic prescriptions

  • SmartVest users in the study decreased their hospitalizations by 59% after using SmartVest for a year.

    decrease in hospitalizations

  • SmartVest users in the study experienced 60% fewer emergency department visits.

    fewer emergency department visits

  • 68% of SmartVest users in the study unreservedly reported a significant improvement in quality of life.

    unreservedly reported a significant improvement in quality of life

Smart Savings

Typical bronchiectasis patients experienced

and in the past 24 months.

Patients that treat their bronchiectasis with SmartVest reduced
antibiotic prescriptions by and hospitalizations by

How much could you save?

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Download for your doctor

Patients who are compliant with their SmartVest treatment protocols may see a cost savings. Individual results may vary.

Sievert, CE et al. 2017. Cost-Effective Analysis of Using High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) in Patients with Non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis. Respiratory Therapy, 12(1), 45-49.

Read the study

The SmartVest Airway Clearance System provides effective, convenient, and comfortable airway clearance therapy.
Designed to Make Therapy Easy

How Does SmartVest Work?

Get an inside perspective on how our airway clearance vest supports your body’s natural processes through a comfortable and easy-to-use therapy.