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Bronchial Hygiene Therapy

An image of bronchial tubes
An image of bronchial tubes

Bronchial Hygiene Therapy (BHT) is a broad term used to describe various airway clearance techniques: chest physiotherapy (which consists of postural drainage, percussion, vibration, coughing, and suctioning), breathing exercises (such as huffing and diaphragmatic breathing used in spontaneously breathing patients), and manual hyperventilation (used in intubated patients). The purpose of BHT is to improve the clearance of secretions, thereby decreasing airway obstruction and enhancing ventilation and gas exchange.

This therapy is useful in diseases such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. There are more than 100 conditions associated with compromised airway clearance, including congenital disorders (cerebral palsy), respiratory disorders (asthma and chronic bronchitis), postoperative complications (pneumonia), degenerative neuromuscular diseases (muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the use of artificial airways and mechanical ventilation.