A Short-Term Evaluation of a Prototype Disposable Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) Device in a Cohort of Children With Cystic Fibrosis

Kevin J. O'Sullivan; Valerie Power; Barry Linnane; Deirdre McGrath; Magdalena Mulligan; Rebecca White; Leonard W. O'Sullivan; Colum P. Dunne


BMC Pulm Med. 2021;21(158) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) devices are important adjuncts to airway clearance therapy in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Current devices are typically reusable and require daily, or often more frequent, cleaning to prevent risk of infection by acting as reservoirs of potentially pathogenic organisms. In response, a daily disposable OPEP device, the UL-OPEP, was developed to mitigate the risk of contamination and eliminate the burdensome need for cleaning devices.

Methods: A convenience sample of 36 participants, all current OPEP device users, was recruited from a paediatric CF service. For one month, participants replaced their current OPEP device with a novel daily disposable device. Assessment included pre- and post-intervention lung function by spirometry, as well as Lung Clearance Index. Quality of life was assessed using the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire – Revised, while user experience was evaluated with a post-study survey.

Results: 31 participants completed the study: 18 males; median age 10 years, range 4–16 years. Lung function (mean difference ± SD, %FEV1 = 1.69 ± 11.93; %FVC = 0.58 ± 10.04; FEV1: FVC = 0.01 ± 0.09), LCI (mean difference ± SD, 0.08 ± 1.13), six-minute walk test, and CFQ-R were unchanged post-intervention. Participant-reported experiences of the device were predominantly positive.

Conclusions: The disposable OPEP device maintained patients' lung function during short term use (≤ 1 month), and was the subject of positive feedback regarding functionality while reducing the risk of airway contamination associated with ineffective cleaning.

Registration: The study was approved as a Clinical Investigation by the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority (CRN-2209025-CI0085).