Investigating the optimal settings for a cough assist device

Dr Patrick Murphy and his team, including research fellow Neeraj Shah, at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital are using an artificial lung to identify the most optimal settings for a cough assist device. This research will help to improve clinical practice by generating important data that can be taken forward into a clinical study.

Cough assist devices are an important part of care for people with muscle-wasting conditions that cause respiratory weakness. They help to improve cough function, clear secretions and reduce the risk of chest infections, which can be life-threatening.

Cough assist devices have lots of possible settings, and despite being used widely, there is a lack of knowledge on the best settings to improve cough function. This has resulted in a wide variation in clinical practice.

This project will help to address this by testing a range of settings on an artificial lung connected to a cough assist device. The researchers will then identify which settings are most likely to result in clinical benefit.

Of course an artificial lung is very different to a lung inside a person, so the findings from this project will need to be verified in a clinical study. This will also allow the researchers to understand more about patient comfort when using the cough assist device. Although more powerful settings will help to clear secretions, they can be uncomfortable and cause people to stop using the device or not use it often enough. This highlights the need to identify the most ‘comfortable’ settings that give maximal clinical benefit.

Grant information

Principal Investigator: Dr Patrick Murphy
Institute: Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital
Condition: all
Duration: One year
Total cost: £7000
Official title: Bench study to explore methods to optimise mechanical insufflation-exsufflation

For further information

If you would like further details about this research project, please contact the MDUK Research Line on 02078034813 or email

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