October 16, 2023

High-Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation Therapy: Common Misconceptions

Author: Jessica Fox

HFCWO ClinicianHelpingMaleWithTactileMedical2
High-Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) therapy is an innovative treatment method that aims to improve lung function and respiratory clearance in patients with various respiratory conditions. Although HFCWO therapy is an effective approach to managing chronic lung conditions, there are misconceptions about HFCWO therapy and how it works.

Common Misconceptions

  1. HFCWO therapy is only for individuals with cystic fibrosis: While HFCWO therapy was initially developed for individuals with cystic fibrosis, it can be beneficial for individuals with other respiratory conditions such as bronchiectasis and neuromuscular disorders.

  2. HFCWO therapy is painful and uncomfortable: Many people assume that HFCWO therapy is painful or uncomfortable due to the vibrations it produces. However, most individuals find the therapy to be tolerable and even relieving as it helps to mobilize and clean mucus from the lungs1.

  3. HFCWO therapy is only for adults: Therapy is suitable for both adults and children2. In Fact, pediatric patients with respiratory conditions often benefit from this therapy as it helps to improve lung function, reduce respiratory infections, and enhance overall quality of life3.

  4. HFCWO therapy is only performed in hospitals: While HFCWO therapy was initially performed in hospitals, portable devices are now available that allow individuals to perform the therapy at home. This provides convenience and allows for more frequent and consistent use of the therapy.

  5. HFWCO therapy can replace other respiratory treatments: HFCWO therapy is typically used as a complementary therapy alongside other treatments such as inhalers, nebulized medications, and other respiratory therapies. It should not be considered a substitute for other necessary treatments.

  6. HFCWO therapy is only used during exacerbations: While HFCWO therapy can be particularly helpful during respiratory exacerbations, it is also used as a maintenance therapy to prevent exacerbations and relieving related symptoms in individuals with chronic respiratory conditions.

  7. HFCWO therapy is a new and experimental treatment. HFCWO therapy has been in use for several decades and has been extensively studied and shown to be effective in various respiratory conditions, it is a well-established treatment option and is not considered experimental4.

Some of the Benefits of HFCWO Therapy

  • Enhanced airway clearance
  • Improve lung function
  • Reduce hospitalization
  • Increased physical endurance
  • Ease of use at home

When completed regularly, high-frequency chest wall oscillation can help you achieve a better health-related quality of life5. If you are considering trying HFCWO therapy, remember that vests are available by prescription only.

How Lincare Can Help

We encourage you to talk with your practitioner about whether HFCWO is right for you. Our team provides comprehensive HFCWO therapy programs that can be tailored to the treatment plan created by your practitioner. Lincare will help you start your at-home therapy, providing all the necessary equipment and training. We also offer 24/7 customer support, so you can get the assistance or answers you need when you need them.


1 https://lungdiseasenews.com/2015/12/09/airway-clearance-therapy-helps-range-lung-diseases/
2 https://bronchiectasis.com.au/paediatrics/airway-clearance/high-frequency-chest-wall-oscillation#
3 https://www.usa.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/press/2020/20200723-study-finds-hfcwo-therapy-using-philips-incourage-system-reduces-hospitalizations.html
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297124/
5 https://www.cff.org/managing-cf/high-frequency-chest-wall-oscillation-vest

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