Chest percussion and postural drainage
A therapeutic method for loosening and clearing mucus from the LUNGS, used especially in CYSTIC FIBROSIS and BRONCHIECTASIS, when there is ATELECTASIS, and in other pulmonary disorders in which mucus collects and blocks the flow of air. For this treatment, a respiratory therapist or caregiver trained in the method rhythmically claps, with cupped hands, on the SKIN surfaces of the chest and back over the thoracic cavity with the person receiving the treatment in various postures, depending on the location of the clapping. The therapist may choose to use a mechanized percussor instead of the hands, which allows longer and more intensive percussion.
Clapping over the upper chest (near the collarbones) and upper back (near the shoulder blades) loosens secretions in the upper lobes. Clapping over the midchest (nipple line) and midback loosens secretions in the middle lobes. Clapping over the lower chest (below the nipple line) and lower back loosens secretions in the lower lobes. Precise positioning of the hands when clapping can further target specific segments of the lobes. The percussion of the clapping loosens mucus and secretions within the bronchi, which the person then coughs up to remove from the respiratory tract.
See also COUGH; CYSTIC FIBROSIS AND THE LUNGS.