Mechanical evaluation of a respiratory device

Med Eng Phys. 2005 Mar;27(2):181-7. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2004.09.016.


This article aims to characterize the mechanical behaviour of the Flutter VRP1, a respiratory physiotherapy device designed to aid sputum clearance of the airways of patients. The device resembles a smoking pipe with a conical cavity containing a stainless steel sphere which floats up and down while the patient comes with a forced expiration through it. The sphere's oscillatory movement is function of the air flow rate and angular orientation of the device. When the sphere's oscillatory frequency matches the natural frequency of the patient's chestwall+abdomen system, it will produce resonance which, in turn, will enhance sputum clearance. A dynamical model of the Flutter was formulated and an experimental setup was assembled in order to study the oscillatory frequency of the sphere under different conditions of air flow rate, fluid pressure, angular orientation and sphere's material and weight. Interesting results presented by this article point to eventual mechanical optimization of the device and show information that could be beneficial to the professional of the respiratory physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Failure Analysis / instrumentation
  • Equipment Failure Analysis / methods*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*