Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) for Infants

The lungs make mucus to help defend against germs. Cystic fibrosis changes the mucus, making it thick and hard to clear. This mucus is where infections can occur. Infections cause inflammation, or swelling, of the lungs. Both infections and inflammation cause more mucus to be made. More mucus in the lungs can lead to more infections. This cycle of infection, inflammation and more mucus can hurt the lungs and keep them from working as well as they could.

The cycle can hurt lung function.

How CPT Works 

Brisk percussion of the chest wall helps to break up and dislodge mucus, so it can be more easily huffed or coughed out of the body.

  • Your child is placed into different positions so that mucus can be more easily moved (see pictures below).
  • Different areas of the chest wall are percussed to help loosen and move the mucus toward the center of the chest. 
  • Percussion is performed for two minutes in each different position.
  • Perform two to three huff coughs between each position, if your child is old enough.
  • Repeat until all different positions are complete.

1.   Put a thin layer of clothing, such a T- shirt, on your child’s chest.

2.   Use a cupped hand or percussor cup. If done right, you will hear a popping sound. Percussion should not cause red marks on your child.

3.   Do not percuss over the backbone, breastbone, or lower two ribs.

4.   Do CPT before meals or 30 minutes after meals.

5.   Percuss on both the right and left sides.

6.   Your child should get two treatments daily and increase to three to four when sick.

With the infant leaning slightly back, percuss over the area from the nipple line to the shoulder on both sides. Percuss over each area for two minutes.

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 2

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 3

With the infant leaning forward, percuss over and above each shoulder blade on both sides. Percuss over each area for two minutes.

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 4

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Lay infant flat on his or her side. Roll back one quarter turn with arm extended, as illustrated. Percuss over nipple area. Repeat on opposite side. Percuss over each area for two minutes

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 6

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Place infant in a flat position on his/her side, with arm extended. Percuss over side of ribcage, below armpit. Percuss over each area for two minutes.

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 8

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Place infant in a flat position, facing up. Percuss above margin of the ribs on both sides. Do not percuss on the stomach! Percuss for two minutes.

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 10

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Place infant in a flat position facing down. Percuss above the lower margin of the ribs on both sides. Percuss over each area for two minutes.

Chest Physiotherapy Infant Pic 12

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Last Updated 05/2014