What is a flutter valve?

A flutter valve is a one-way valve used in respiratory medicine to prevent air from travelling back along a chest tube.

A flutter valve device, on the other hand, is a device used by individuals to mobilize mucus and expand airways.

When exhaling into the device, a steel ball resting on a cone begins to vibrate, causing oscillation through the whole airway, which in turn mobilizes sticky mucus.


How does a flutter valve device work?


There are 2 ways that a flutter device helps with clogged airways, oscillations and positive pressure.




When the patient exhales into the device, the air displaces a steel ball resting on a cone, opening and closing the opening covered by the ball. This is the flutter effect described in the device’s name. 

This fluttering causes an oscillation or vibration that resonates throughout the whole airway and lungs. This oscillation dislodges the accumulated mucus, making it easier to mobilize and expel.


Positive Pressure


Positive Pressure means that an area or region is filled with gases. When exhaling into a flutter valve device, this creates positive pressure along the airways, keeping the airways open.

It is important to keep the airways as wide as possible. The wider the airways, the more mucus can move up to the mouth. At the same time, more gases can be exchanged along the wider airways.


Why should you use a flutter valve device?


Flutter valve devices are used by individuals with a build-up of mucus. These are brought about by diseases such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

These devices are useful for people who have difficulty coughing up mucus on their own. People may need flutter valve devices to expel mucus effectively and put a stop to mucus building up.

A build-up of mucus and unhealthy secretions in the airways can lead to infection and serious health problems. In 2019, a pilot study with 24 individuals aged 35 to 80 years, diagnosed with severe COPD underwent PEP Therapy using a flutter valve device.

After 14 days of intervention at home, a statistically significant improvement in pulmonary function. The researchers suggested PEP Therapy as a supplement to treatment for severe COPD patients.


Results of using a flutter valve device


In a review of 19 studies, patients diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, bronchiectasis and panbronchiolitis underwent PEP Therapy using a flutter valve device.

The studies suggest a statistically significant improvement in mucus clearance. The improvement was attributed to the oscillations produced when using flutter valve devices.

The oscillations allow the viscoelasticity or stickiness of the mucus to reduce, allowing the mucus to flow and be expelled easier.


How to use a flutter valve device


There are many types of OPEP devices on the market and the method will differ slightly. However, the general procedure can be split into two stages, mucus dislodgement and mucus expulsion. The instructions that follow apply for Turboforte, a trusted product for OPEP devices.


Sit upright


Sit comfortably on a chair or sofa, such that your back is straight. This assures that circulation along the airway is at its best.


Inhale – Device – Exhale


At the end of the 5-10 cycles, do two more Inhale-Device-Exhale cycles but this time filling your lungs all the way in the Inhale stage, then completely and forcefully emptying the air during the exhale stage.

The fluttering effect must be at its highest at this point.


With all those cycles, the urge to cough is immense. Now, grab a tissue and initiate a cough into the tissue to expel the mucus.

It is recommended to use the device hourly, for the continued relief and proper expulsion of mucus throughout the day.


Mucus expulsion


First, with the PEP device away, do a slow but deep inhale. The goal is to fill your lungs around two-thirds of the way. Next, place the device’s mouthpiece in your mouth.

The mouthpiece should be horizontal to the ground, with the far end of the device pointing upwards. Finally, put your free hand on your cheeks (hold it as you would hold a sandwich) and exhale forcefully through the device. After which you may feel the urge to cough, try to not cough at this stage.

A good way to know if you did the steps correctly is through hearing a fluttering sound coming from the device. Repeat the Inhale-Device-Exhale cycle 5-10 times.


Choosing the best flutter valve device


With multiple flutter valve devices in the market, how do you know which is the one for you. Turboforte™ provides a simple, cost-effective, drug free and scientifically validated method of removing unhealthy mucus, phlegm and environmental pollutants from your airways making breathing easier. Turboforte™ is a premier option for patients with cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma and other respiratory diseases


Interested in Turboforte?

Turboforte Lung Physio is a handheld drug-free lung expansion & mucus relief device that helps clear congestion from airways and lungs making breathe easier.

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