Talking to your doctor about high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy can present challenges—especially if your prescriber is unfamiliar with bronchiectasis or how to effectively treat its chronic symptoms. When this is the case, it’s up to you to help educate your doctor on the benefits of HFCWO therapy in providing long-term relief and getting back to what matters most in your life.
Understanding HFCWO Therapy:
Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory condition where airways in the lungs become damaged and abnormally widened from recurring inflammation or infection, preventing your lungs from properly functioning. HFCWO therapy prevents mucus from building up in your lungs, thereby reducing the risk of respiratory infections and hospitalizations. By producing an alternating flow of air into a respiratory vest, HFCWO compresses and releases the chest to create oscillations in the airways. This is known as airway clearance and is an effective way to treat bronchiectasis.
Taking a Proactive Approach:
If you need to talk to your doctor about HFCWO therapy, you may be asking yourself the following questions:
- How do I start the conversation?
- What if my doctor is reluctant to the idea?
- How can I assure my doctor that HFCWO therapy is right for me?
You’re not alone in these concerns. And with the right information you’ll feel empowered to have this conversation with your provider and get appropriate treatment.
In the “Ask a Pulmonologist” video series, a constant theme is the lack of bronchiectasis awareness. In the video “How Do I Talk to My Doctor About Bronchiectasis,” Dr. Frederic Seifer, a pulmonary thought leader in the study of bronchiectasis, advises patients to:
- Be Informed: Reading up on the latest bronchiectasis resources and HFCWO therapy clinical studies are primary ways to understand the condition and recognize its symptoms as they relate to your health. Dr. Seifer encourages patients to bring these resources to their doctor and feel empowered to share what they’ve learned.
- Be an Advocate: If you think your chronic cough, repeated respiratory infections, and general fatigue are all signs of bronchiectasis, you need to make sure your voice is heard. If your doctor is hesitant, communicate your symptoms, express your concerns, and work with your doctor to find a solution.
- Be Vulnerable: An important part of talking to your doctor about bronchiectasis and HFCWO therapy is vulnerability. Dr. Seifer encourages patients to put their emotions on the table and ask for help.
If you are open about how bronchiectasis is disrupting your personal life, you will set the stage for an honest conversation between clinician and patient.
Starting the Conversation:
The conversation begins with you! If you’re living with bronchiectasis or another chronic lung condition (i.e. COPD, cystic fibrosis, neuromuscular conditions), HFCWO therapy may be the difference between maintaining a healthy lifestyle or missing out on life’s special moments with loved ones.
Request a patient packet to easily share with your doctor and learn more about HFCWO therapy by browsing our support materials and resources on airway clearance to keep you informed and help you connect with others living with bronchiectasis.