A pilot study on the non-invasive management of tracheobronchial secretions in tracheostomised patients

Stefano Belli, Davide Cattaneo, Francesco D'Abrosca, Ilaria Prince, Gloria Savio, Bruno Balbi

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Introduction/Objectives: The aim of our study was to assess the safety, efficacy and feasibility of an Expiratory Flow Accelerator (EFA) device, Free Aspire, in reducing the need for daily suctions in tracheostomised (TCS) patients. Methods: Twenty-five patients (13 males, 12 females, aged 69.88 ± 9.06 years) were investigated. The number of superficial/deep suctions, shallows, arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis, perception of mucus encumbrance (Visual Numeric Scale, VNS) and adverse event were recorded for five days. On the first two days (T1-T2), suctioning was performed as usual, on the following three days (T3, T4, T5), patients were treated also with Free Aspire (20 min, 3 times a day). Results/Conclusion: The use of the non-invasive device was associated with a decrease of total number of aspirations from T2 to T5 (8.48 ± 2.62 vs 4.48 ± 3.08, P = 0.0003). Total number of daily aspirations decreased over the five days (8.68 ± 3.64 vs 4.48 ± 3.08, P = 0.0009). Deep aspirations decreased from T1 to T5 (6.16 ± 3.53 vs 1.80 ± 1.50, P = 0.0001). ABG data confirmed that no significant side effects occurred. VNS score decreased from 7.03 ± 1.42 at T1 to 4.05 ± 1.80 at T5 (P < 0.0001). These data suggest that EFA may be useful for managing secretions in TCS patients, as it can reduce the number of daily suctions, particularly the deep ones, and may improve the perception of mucus encumbrance, without side effects. More studies are needed to confirm these data and to understand in which categories of TCS patients this device can be introduced.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • airway clearance
  • chest physical therapy
  • mucus encumbrance
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • tracheobronchial secretions
  • tracheostomised patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Genetics(clinical)

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