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    • #14042
      DeAnn R
      Keymaster

      In the latest episode of  Dose of DeAnn: A Glimpse Into My Life with SMA, I talk about using a cough assist machine. The cough assist is a device that many people with SMA use to combat respiratory issues. Its purpose is to remove secretion from a person’s body, and it is often coupled with devices like the Vest Airway Clearance System.

      When I first used a cough assist, I was extremely skeptical. To me it looked more like a torture machine, and the thought of using it daily kind of terrified me. Yet once I got over my initial apprehension, I found it to be a pretty helpful device. I do at least one cough assist session a day, and it’s helped a lot with avoiding pneumonia and other illnesses. Like many other things that those of us with SMA have to deal with, you get used to it after a while.

      In this video, I provide footage of me using my cough assist. If you’ve never used this device before, hopefully this will give you an idea of what it’s like. And as always, please let me know if you have any questions.

      Let me know what you think of the video in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to the SMA News Today YouTube channel so you don’t miss an episode.

    • #14059
      Kevin Schaefer
      Keymaster

      Thanks for sharing DeAnn. I also was apprehensive about using a cough assist a few years ago, and my doctor had to really bug me about it. Both it and the vest are a bit time-consuming, but they’re well worth it. I especially used both devices as much as I could earlier this year when I was dealing with pneumonia.

    • #14067
      DeAnn R
      Keymaster

      Thanks Kevin. I hope those on the fence about using the cough assist can see that it can be very beneficial and not as scary as it may seem.

      • #14082
        Kevin Schaefer
        Keymaster

        Agreed. It does take some getting used to, but more because it’s time-consuming and feels a little weird the first time you use it.

    • #14072
      Michael Morale
      Keymaster

      To be perfectly honest with you, until the 2018 Annual Cure SMA Conference, I’d never heard anything about a cough vest or cough assist machine. While I was at the conference, I decided that I needed to look into these two devices to see if they would benefit me. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it in time, but now that I’m getting better from my pneumonia, I can focus on getting these two pieces of equipment to help me in the future. I can see the benefit of the cough vest, but the cough assist is probably going to give me better results. My insurance has already approved the vest, and I have an appointment with my pulmonologist on October 16. When I go to see my pulmonologist, I will discuss the cough assist to see if he will prescribe it as a medically necessary device, which should help my insurance cover the cost.

      • #14083
        Kevin Schaefer
        Keymaster

        I have to say I am surprised that you hadn’t heard of it before. My pulmonologist was the one who pushed me to use mine, but like I’ve said before I see him more than anyone else on my healthcare team. Hope your pulmonologist appointment goes well in October.

      • #14084
        DeAnn R
        Keymaster

        I think you’ll be glad you have them. When I get sick, it’s usually pretty quickly and having them ready has been useful.  The new machines have an oscillation feature that’s supposed to mimic the vest.  Haven’t had the chance to try it though.

    • #14085
      Ryan Berhar
      Keymaster

      I’ve used a cough machine since I was like two. I don’t use it regularly though. I only use it when I choke or have a respiratory sickness. I’ve also had a vest machine for many years, but I pretty much never use it anymore, because I’ve only had pneumonia once in the last 13 years.

      • #14116
        DeAnn R
        Keymaster

        When I first got the cough assist I definitely didn’t use it daily.  First of all the settings were all wrong, but I didn’t see how it would be beneficial.  After I got the settings tweaked and started Spinraza I can see where it could be useful to use more often.  It seems to help me take a deep breath, so maybe it’ll help strengthen that diaphragm?  Worth a shot.

        Any secrets on how you’ve avoided pneumonia for 13 years Ryan?

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