A pep device, sometimes called a mucus clearance device , is used to strengthen lungs, mobilize secretions like mucus, increase lung function and to prolong expiratory flows and keep the airways from collapsing prematurely. It helps to optimize breathing treatments, such as nebulizer treatments, by opening up the lower portions of the lungs. A PEP device requires a prescription from a physician in the US, due to complications that can arise from contraindications like pneumothorax, an acute asthma or COPD episode, facial or airway traumas, ruptured eardrum, nausea or vomiting, or coughing up blood. Your healthcare provider will decide if you will benefit from a PEP device and will prescribe the proper type.
There are generally two types of PEP devices in the market. The standard PEP is a device that the patient can inhale easily through but will feel a ‘resistance’ upon exhalation. This ‘resistance’ causes a back pressure in the lungs and gets air behind the mucus so that it can be easily cleared or coughed up.
The other type of clearance device is one that ‘vibrates’. It is also easy to breathe in through this device, but resistance is met again on exhalation. These types usually contain a large steel ball inside that both increases the resistance and vibrates which causes more mucus to be released from the lung walls.
Newer versions ‘oscillate’ to help clear mucus. All types of clearance devices allow you to increase or decrease resistance. Your doctor will consider which device is best for your condition.
Medicare does not cover the PEP device, although some private insurers may. We have a variety of devices available at discounted prices. Check out and buy here.
Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist
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