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Vest therapy

What is vest therapy?

Vest therapy is a way to get rid of secretions in the lungs. It uses an air pulse generator and an inflatable vest that wraps around the chest to help loosen mucus so it can be coughed out. For effective therapy sessions, you need to do strong coughs or huff/cough exercises during and after treatments.

How do I use the vest?

When using the full vest:

Put the vest on over a thin layer of clothing. Adjust the front closures so the vest fits loosely. Move the shoulder straps so that the vest covers as much of the upper chest as possible (but without digging into the armpits). Make sure the bottom of the vest rests just above the hip bones, or to the top of the thigh when sitting up.

When using the wrap vest:

Put on the wrap vest over a thin layer of clothing.  With the wrap vest deflated, adjust the inflatable vest to fit comfortably close to the underarms.  Have your child take a deep breath and secure the hook-and-loop fasteners to close the wrap vest.

Connect the tubing from the air pulse generator to the vest. Press the ON button to inflate. Adjust the pressure setting and set the first frequency. Then turn on the main power switch. Activate the vest system by pressing the ON button on the air pulse generator. Breathe normally during the frequency setting, taking a deep breath once per minute.

Important: Each therapy session is from 15-30 minutes using up to 6 frequency settings for 5 minutes in each frequency. After each frequency setting:

  1. Pause vest
  2. Do 3 vigorous coughs or cough/huff exercises.

The cough exercises are very important for clearing the mucus.

Suggested frequencies are as follows: 8, 9,10 at a pressure of 10; and 18, 19, 20, at a pressure of 6-8.

If these frequencies cannot be tolerated, start with frequencies of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Adjust the pressure setting to the highest setting that is comfortable. Attempt to reach a pressure setting of at least 6.

NOTE: a pressure setting of 4 is recommended for the wrap vest and 6-10 for the full vest. Choose the highest value that is comfortable for your child.

If you have questions regarding vest settings please talk to your provider.

Frequency settings: ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Pressure setting: ______

Minutes in each frequency: _______

Vest size: _________________________, full vest / chest wrap

What else do I need to know?

Use your nebulizer with the vest on to help make sure there is enough moisture and movement in the airway. After any nebulized medication, continue nebulizer therapy with normal saline. Give medications in this order:

  1. bronchodilators
  2. mucolytics
  3. antibiotics

How do I clean the vest?

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning the air pulse generator and vest.

For more information, you may contact:

  • Hill-Rom Customer Service, 1-800-426-4224


This sheet is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. 

Last reviewed 7/2016

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit

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