Respiratory Therapy Supplies

Glossary of Respiratory Therapy Terms

Aerosol Therapy : Aerosol therapy may be used to treat chronic asthma, acute asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and other illnesses that effect airway functioning. Powder and metered dose inhalers, or nebulizers deliver small amounts of medicine into the lungs to address breathing problems.

BiLevel CPAP: BiPAP, or BiLevel CPAP systems provides two different pressures, one during inhalation and the other during exhalation. Patients with central sleep apnea will use BiPAP most often.

CPAP: CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment that uses constant mild air pressure to keep the airways open. Obstructive sleep apnea patients will use CPAP most often.

CPAP Headgear: CPAP headgear includes nose pillows, breathing mask or interface, straps which are used to attach it, and tubes to connect the mask to the CPAP machine. There are many different designs and styles available and finding the right headgear can be an important part in finding an apnea treatment that works for you.

CPAP Machine: A CPAP machine is a small device connected with tubes through which air flows. The tubes are connected to a mask worn on the face. For those with sleep apnea, a CPAP system is used at night during sleep to improve breathing.

CPAP Mask: A CPAP Mask allows mild air pressure to be passed to the lungs while the patient is asleep. Both complex and obstructive sleep apnea can be helped by using CPAP Masks to cure disruptive snoring and sleep apnea. A total face CPAP Mask covers the face and nose. A hybrid CPAP Mask is a lighter version of the full-face mask. An oral CPAP Mask covers just the mouth and the nasal prong CPAP Mask is used in the nose.

CPAP Heated Humidifier: A heated humidifier adds moisture and warmth to the air delivered by a CPAP or bilevel system. This reduces symptoms of dryness and congestion, improving comfort. Heated humidification can prevent the large increase in nasal resistance that results in mouth breathing and leaks around the mask

HEPA Filter: A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is a fiberglass filter that filters at a 99.97-percent efficiency with airborne particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. Larger and smaller particles that are easier to trap are removed from the air at even higher efficiency rates

Humidifier: A humidifier is a household appliance that increases humidity (moisture) in a single room or in the entire house. There are point-of-use humidifiers, which are commonly used to humidify a single room, and whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home's HVAC system to provide humidity to the entire house

Inhaler: There are two main types of inhalers. The metered dose inhaler uses a chemical propellant to carry a dose of medication into the lungs. The dry powder inhaler requires no propellant as the drug is sucked into the lungs by a quick, strong inhalation.

Nebulizer: A nebulizer, also known as an atomizer, is a machine that vaporizes liquid medication into a fine mist that is inhaled into the lungs via a mouthpiece or mask. The nebulizer consists of a cup that holds the medicine, the tubing that transfers the medication, and either a mask or mouthpiece, which is where you receive the medication in the form of a mist.

Nebulizer Compressor: A nebulizer compressor is a small air pump to which the nebulizer circuit tubing is attached. The pressure produced by the pump travels through the tubing to the nebulizer cup. The medication in the cup is transformed into a fine mist that is breathed in an absorbed by the lungs.

Peak Flow Meter: A peak flow meter is a small device that you blow into. It measures the fastest rate of air (airflow) that you can blow out of your lungs and records that airflow in liters per minute. Peak flow meters are made in two ranges, a low range for small children, and a standard range meter for older children, teenagers and adults.

Spirometer: A spirometer is a machine for testing lung function wherein you breathe in and out through a hose attached to a mouthpiece. It can measure a number of lung characteristics including FVC (forced expiry vital capacity), PEPR (peak flow), and FEV1 (forced expiry volume 1). FVC is the amount of air that you can exhale forcefully after taking a deep breath. FEV1 is the amount of air that you can be exhale in one second.

Spacer: A spacer is a metal or plastic tube that attaches to the end of an inhaler. The medicine in the inhaler is first drawn into spacer and then breathed in. This slows the speed of medicine and allows it to be inhaled properly into lungs.

Holding Chamber: A holding chamber is a sealed chamber that attaches to the inhaler. This traps and holds the medication, allowing the patient to spray the medication into the chamber and take a few seconds to inhale the medication. Since the medication is temporarily suspended in the holding chamber, the timing of the inhalation is not nearly as critical as with simple spacers or no spacer.

Oxygen Conserver: An oxygen conderver delivers a burst of oxygen when you inhale and then turns off when you exhale. This intermittent flow of oxygen allows small cylinders to last three to six times longer as compared to conventional continuous flow devices.

Nasal Cannula: A nasal cannula is a medical device used to deliver oxygen therapy to a patient. It consists of a thin plastic tube with two small prongs which are inserted into the nose. The tubing is attached to an oxygen source, such as flow meter or oxygen cylinder to deliver oxygen to the lungs.

Vibratory Valve: A vibratory valve improves clearance of secretions from the respiratory system and is easier to tolerate and takes less than half the time of conventional CPT sessions. It facilitates the opening of airways in patients with secretory problems due to lung disease,(COPD, asthma and Cystic Fibrosis.

Vaporizer: A vaporizer produces a soothing, hot mist that is beneficial for combating cough and cold symptoms. It may produce steam or may contain a cup for use with vaporizing inhalants.