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Elevation while Congested is Key

August 18, 2008 on 10:48 am | In submarinesusie |

I found that elevating the feet of the Porta-Lung and letting mucous drain to my head is very important for getting the best out of the Porta-Lung’s respiration. At home I always have my feet elevated but we have been traveling so for the past week, we have kept my porta-lung flat. The other night I had a lot of mucous to cough up and when I cough up stuff this means that I try to blow it out my trachea (or get suctioned). In the porta-lung I have to have a home-made trach put in my trachea while I am inside the porta-lung to protect me from having the air sucked out of my lungs. When I cough up stuff with this home-made trach inside my throat, the trach gets clogged and I can’t breathe, if the porta-lung is flat. The other night I tried to blow out stuff with this trach in while the porta-lung was flat and the trach got clogged blocking my airway. I figured out that elevation is important and drainage is key - in the best of circumstances. If the porta lung is elevated then I can breathe around the trach. So, for those with congestion elevation is key!


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  1. Hello again!! I’ve been wondering what special challenges were involved in moving and setting up the P.L. It’s design is so simple, but I’d not thought about levelling. What are some of the other considerations? Till next time,Rambler

    Comment by Rambler — September 2, 2008 #

  2. What is involved with moving and setting up a porta-lung is taking the front off (the metal plate with collar), packing it inside the tank and then taking the valve off and putting that in a safe place. Then you have to put it in the back a van for transportation purposes. Not too complicated! For someone who has phlegm build-up in their lungs or throat, elevating the tank is VERY important. It keeps the lungs to drain and helps to keep your airway open. I recommend elevation for anyone especially those with bronchitis or pneumonia. There is also a ventilator out there that helps you to cough while inside the tank. I haven’t tried it yet though, so I can’t give my full-fledged support of it now. I have studied the product though and it looks like it could be helpful.

    Comment by submarine susie — September 3, 2008 #

  3. Hi Submarine Susie,

    Can you tell me who else might benefit from the port-a-lung? Would it be beneficial for a person that has cystic fibrosis? Could it be used in combination with other therapies that they are receiving? Have any studies been done with these patients?

    Also, one of your bloggers posted a question about sleep apnea and whether the port-a-lung could help them?

    Another question that could be related to this is how would someone who is living alone or independently use the port-a-lung? Can they get in to it by themselves?

    Thanks for your help.
    Curious C.

    Comment by curiousC — November 9, 2008 #

  4. Great question, curiousC!

    Studies have been done with the porta-lung for the following diseases and I know of a few people with some of these illnesses who are currently using the porta-lung. For example, I have talked personally with a young man from Texas with muscular dystrophy who loves the porta-lung and uses it quite often for resting purposes throughout the day (if he needs to). I’m sure there are people with spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, post polio muscular atrophy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic respiratory failure, etc that have used or currently use the porta-lung. There have been studies done with the porta-lung for non-obstructive central sleep apnea at John Hopkins where they found that the porta-lung was very beneficial to sleep apnea patients because it increased their lung volume and decreased the obstruction to their upper airways.

    Porta-lung is currently trying to market a computerized ventilator (similarly to the NEV 100 that I currently use) called the Pegaso Cough Assist which would be extremely beneficial to cystic fibrosis patients. You can read about this neat invention here: With the help of the Pegaso ventilator cystic fibrosis can cough up their secretions and remain inside the porta-lung for rest. If a person has to cough all the time, I would imagine it can become quite exhausting and even stressful on the lungs. Getting the strength to cough is often very difficult for a person with respiratory problems and sometimes you can lose lung volume. Therefore, it is always very comforting to know that there is a respirator you can go to when you need to have some help with breathing. :) Cystic fibrosis experience blockage to the lungs with the constant build-up of thick sticky mucous and you folks need a respirator like the porta-lung which will expand your lung capacity.

    Other treatments for cystic fibrosis can certainly be used in conjuction with the porta-lung. The porta-lung is a non-invasive respirator so it can be used with various homeopathic remedies and medical treatments too.

    The porta-lung can be adapted to fit a person’s lifestyle - meaning you can receive the necessary bronchial drainage just by tipping the mattress inside the machine and/or elevating the head or foot of the tank with books. Porta-lung is thinking of inventing a gurney that will accomplish the bronchial drainage to suit the individual’s needs. I think this would be a good invention!

    Comment by submarine susie — November 10, 2008 #

  5. Here are some ideas for allowing one to get in and out of the porta-lung unassisted.

    1) Reverse the latches to allow the fiberglass to be unlatched from the inside rather from the outside
    2) Put a bar or heavy duty rope along the bottom of the door on the inside that allows the user to lift the door open
    3) Reverse the collar so that the hardware for closing and releasing it is on the inside so the user can reach up to do it themselves
    4) An electrical box or remote device for turning the vent on and off.

    Comment by submarine susie — November 15, 2008 #

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