Airway Clearance for Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections

Doctors at NYU Langone may recommend one or more airway clearance methods to prevent mucus from building up in the chest. A buildup of mucus can lead to more serious lung problems for people with nontuberculous mycobacterial infections.

Pulmonologists—doctors who specialize in the lungs and respiratory tract—and physical therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation can demonstrate how to use these therapies or devices at home. Many of these techniques must be performed daily.

Airway Clearance Devices

Doctors may recommend breathing into a special device that oscillates, or vibrates, the airways, making it easier to cough up mucus. There are several different kinds of devices that can help loosen secretions stuck in the lungs and airways. Your doctor can advise you on which one may work best for you. 

A different method involves wearing a vibrating vest for small durations of time daily to loosen and move mucus in the chest, making it easier to expel.

Chest Therapy

A technique called manual chest therapy, or percussion, involves rhythmic clapping of the chest to clear mucus from the lungs. People usually perform chest therapy on themselves in different postures to help drain mucus from the lungs so it can be coughed up. 

NYU Langone specialists can teach you how to perform chest therapy on your own at home.

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