Thursday, June 16, 2011

CF Treatments

I'd like to do another educational post of sorts, and tell you about the treatments Judith needs to have daily for her CF.

Twice a day, at her 6 AM & 6 PM feeds, Judith receives 2 puffs of Albuterol from an inhaler.  This is to open up her airways so she can breathe easier.  So far, we have not had to use a nebulizer (knock on wood), but I know that there's always the possibility that she will need one in the future.  Judith doesn't really mind the inhaled meds, and will often talk to us through her spacer.

The fun part (and I use the word "fun" loosely) is her twice daily CPT treatments.  CPT stands for Chest Physiotherapy (some people will refer to it as Chest PT), and this is the act of moving the mucous from the small airways to the large airways so Judith can cough it up.  It also prevents the mucous from sitting in the lungs and festering, which would cause lung-damaging infections.  This is not a treatment that will go away over time; in fact, this is a treatment that must be done daily no matter what, and will have to increase in frequency whenever she's sick.

This therapy may be something you're familiar with, or may be something you think of when you hear "cystic fibrosis": it's the treatment where someone claps on the lungs with a cupped hand or a special percussor (kind of looks like an air hockey paddle, but with a concave middle on the underside).  It can be done manually, or it can be done through a special vest.  We have to do it manually for now, because Judith isn't nearly big enough for the vest!

So every day, twice a day, Judith and I go through her CPT.  There are 3 "zones" (that's what I like to think of them as) that get the treatment, front and back: the upper chest, the middle chest, and the lower chest.  In each of these "zones," there are 2 areas that need to be percussed: 1 on the left, and 1 on the right.  Judith has to lay or sit a certain way while each area is being treated.  Keeping her in the proper position is the trickiest part right now - she's way more interested in rolling around!  I'm waiting to see what's going to happen when she's mobile and can crawl away.  The whole process is going to remain interesting until she's old enough to understand things!

I know this wasn't the most interesting thing I've posted, so if you managed to make it through this you deserve a cupcake!

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