With postural drainage, the person lies or sits in various positions so the part of the lung to be drained is as high as possible. That part of the lung is then drained using percussion, vibration and gravity. Your care team may tailor these positions to your or your child’s needs.
When the person with CF is in one of the positions, the caregiver can clap on the person’s chest wall. This is usually done for three to five minutes and is sometimes followed by vibration over the same area for approximately 15 seconds (or during five exhalations). The person is then encouraged to cough or huff forcefully to get the mucus out of the lungs.
Clapping (percussion) by the caregiver on the chest wall over the part of the lung to be drained helps move the mucus into the larger airways. The hand is cupped as if to hold water but with the palm facing down (as shown in the figure below). The cupped hand curves to the chest wall and traps a cushion of air to soften the clapping