The Cough Assist - Non-invasive Secretion Removal

What is it?

The cough assist is a respiratory therapy system that aids in mobilising and removing secretions from the lungs.

How does it work?

The cough assist works by mimicking a natural cough, breaking up and then removing mucus from the lungs by applying positive air pressure (inhale) to the airway and then rapidly shifting to negative air pressure (exhale) to remove secretions.   The cough assist can combine with multiple therapies of assisted cough and lung expansion along with high frequency oscillation to further enhance secretion mobilisation during treatment.

How does it compare to what is available on the market?

The cough assist provides a non-invasive solution via a facemask to enhance airway clearance which is essential to avoid retained mucus that causes infection, inflammation, and respiratory failure.  Using a pressure system, this also allows for adequate lung expansion and provides a similar mechanic to a natural cough.

Comparison chart:




Deep Suctioning

- cheaper

- Invasive procedure

- Tracheal trauma, suctioning induced hypoxemia, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and raised intracranial pressure have all been associated with suctioning

- May miss part of the lung

- Patients have reported that suctioning can be a painful and anxiety provoking procedure

Cough Assist

- Non-invasive

- Can be done progressively to ease patient anxiety

- Effective in targeting most regions of the lung

- Mimics a natural cough

- Mobilises secretions into the main airway, before removing via negative pressure

- Can aid in lung expansion

- pricier


Who will benefit from it?

Any patient unable to cough or clear secretions. Patients on tracheostomy can especially benefit from cough assist.

Click here (  for more information on the cough assist and other information related to chest physiotherapy.

Written by:
Kylie Siu
Physiotherapist, Thrive Healthcare

Back to blog