Lung Volume Recruitment – Information

Breath Stacking
Manual Assisted Cough

Breath stacking, also referred to as Lung Volume Recruitment (LVR), is a breathing exercise that uses a manual resuscitator bag to stack breaths on top of one another until your lungs feel full. This exercise can help people who have breathing problems due to muscle weakness, spinal cord injury or poor chest movement.

A mask, mouthpiece, or tracheostomy adapter can be attached to the breath stacking bag.

A MI-E device uses mechanical power to help your body cough and bring up secretions from your lungs. The machine pushes air into your lungs then immediately reverses the airflow, to pull the air out of your lungs. This machine helps to mimic a “normal cough” which consists of a big breath in and a forceful breath out. A breath stacking bag uses manual power (by manually squeezing the bag) to inflate the lungs. A breath stacking bag does not assist with the exhale portion of a cough.

A suction machine pulls/draws saliva or secretions from your airway or mouth. The suction machine does not inflate the lung and therefore it is not a breathing exercise. The suction machine uses a compressor to “vacuum” the saliva or secretions. This is performed using a suction catheter via tracheostomy, or an oral suctioning tool typically called a Yankauer to remove saliva from the mouth. The suction machine is often used together with breath stacking or with a MI-E device to remove sections from the mouth or airway.

Your doctor will need to prescribe the breath stacking exercise. The prescription can be used to obtain the breath stacking bag and related supplies from a medical equipment supplier.