Elizabeth's Machines!

In/Exsufflator: other wise known as “the cough machine” or “cough assist”. It does just what those terms imply...it assists Elizabeth in coughing effectively. The machine blows 40cm of air into Elizabeth lungs and sucks the same amount out. This enables us to clear her lungs, upper airway and sinuses of any plugs or bothersome secretions. The “cough machine” is also an excellent means of expanding the lungs to their fullest, and exercising the muscles that surround them.


The Bipap Machine: this machine gives Elizabeth a deeper breath of air with every breath she takes on her own. It also has a back-up rate, so when Elizabeth is on it, she gets certain amount of breaths per minute. Elizabeth uses her BiPap for nocturnal sleep and naps. She also uses it as needed when ill. This machine, along with the one that follows in this list, enabled us to keep Elizabeth at home during her last severe illness. While the BiPap is at work, we know that Elizabeth's lung muscles are being exercised...and that she is also being given a rest, so that she is better able to breathe efficiently on her own when she is off. (It looks much worse than it is) It also gives Elizabeth more energy because she does not have to work so hard while sleeping.

The Hazards of Oxygen: One of the most common treatment errors for people with neuromuscular disorders is oxygen therapy, which Bach likens to "putting a Band-Aid on a cancer." He says that oxygen should never be used for people with neuromuscular conditions unless pneumonia has resulted in the need for intubation and intensive care.

Oxygen turns off the brain's drive to breathe and greatly increases the likelihood of ventilatory failure, basically allowing the blood's carbon dioxide to increase to levels that render a person unconscious and cause him to stop breathing entirely (respiratory arrest).

Usually decreases in blood oxygen levels are caused by airway secretions that the patient is not strong enough to clear without training in Bach's methods and the secretions themselves can also result in respiratory arrest.


Pulse Oximeter: this device enables us to monitor oxygen saturation levels (SATs), which is highly important. If a child is unable to maintain certain oxygen levels, it can be indicative of something that might be brewing in the lungs, upper airway, etc. It is also an excellent way to see how your child is doing moment to moment...if BiPap might be needed for some extra air, etc. The “pulse ox” also allows us to monitor heart rate. Heart rate can also be indicative of something that might be going on...such as discomfort if the heart rate is too high.

The Suction Machine: We use this  because  Elizabeth is unable to swallow very well we use the suction machine to suck out secretions from her mouth and nose. This machine is a necessary piece of equipment for Elizabeth and other SMA Type 1 kids.  We also use it during the cough asst .  When Elizabeth coughs with the cough asst it brings up secretions.  We take the suction machine where ever we go. It has a back up battery that  lasts 4 hours.


IPV: Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV). IPV is a therapy that delivers moist mini bursts of air into the lungs keeping the airways open and loosen the mucus. This machine has kept Elizabeth out of the hospital for over a year now. It helps break up mucus plugs and also helps clear Elizabeth's lungs during illnesses. We use this machine at least once a day and when she is ill 4 times a day. The machine has a pressure manometer to show the amount of mini burst or pressure that is generated inside the lungs. The machine also contains a dial to adjust the speed or percussion of the mini bursts of air. The device uses a mouthpiece attached to a nebulizer with a manifold. A silver thumb switch, on the top of the nebulizer, allows for self administration of the mini bursts. Tubings to power the nebulizer and manifold are color coded to their correct connections for easy placement. The nebulizer is filled to the 20cc line with a bronchodialator and/or normal saline.