QuickCough: An instrumentational proximal airway clearance technique (ACT) for select patients with Neuromuscular Disease (NMD)

Russell Catania
Sydney E. Kandray, The University of Akron
Madison K. Plaster, The University of Akron
Sean X. Sullivan, The University of Akron
Mariah Costa, The University of Akron


Patients with neuromuscular disease (NMD) requiring tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation secondary to respiratory failure encounter increased difficulty in removing pulmonary secretions from the airways. To combat issues associated with current treatment modalities for insufficient cough efficacy (cost, poor mobility, discomfort, lack of evidence), we have developed an instrumentational proximal airway clearance technique (ACT) which augments a manual proximal ACT developed by a client with NMD. QuickCough is a 3D-printed PLA attachment to the tracheostomy apparatus which has demonstrated its ability to facilitate pressure changes necessary to increase patient’s peak cough flow (PCF) by providing a stronger exsufflation for the patient. QuickCough meets client needs by providing a machine-washable, inexpensive method of facilitating secretion expulsion without the use of bulky equipment in-transit. This novel instrumentational augmentation of a manual ACT was designed using the engineering design process discussed in The University of Akron’s biomedical engineering design course 4800:470. Future work ought to focus on development of an automated procedure to allow application of QuickCough in cases of global paralysis or insufficient home-care.