Respiratory Devices


While there many types of respiratory devices, the following are the three that Donna utilized;

1.      An Inexsufflator (Cough Assist Device) Keeping air passage ways clear while maintaining lung elasticity

2.      Bi-Pap non-invasive Ventilation

3.      Pulse oxometer To periodically check pulse and oxygen level 

1.    Inexsufflator

1997 version 

Current Version


Simply stated, the in-exsufflator exercises the lungs by more fully expanding them and then brings debris up from the air passages into the mouth in a vacuuming sequence, where it can be suctioned out in a non-invasive manner.         

  • Donna used this  early in her illness and by doing so it helped to maintain the elasticity of the lungs in the early stages of illness. Then as the muscles became weaker it also  provided a way bring up the debris that under normal circumstances a person can cough up. This debris then could be easily suctioned out of the mouth in a non-invasive manner.
  • While no two patients are alike and what works for one may not always work for the other, this device allowed Donna to keep her air passages and lungs clear of debris.
  •  It represented a  major factor in her not having any pneumonia's throughout the time that she had ALS.
  •  We are told that one of the reasons that Donna was able to use it so effectively was because she began using it early-on & she  was totally familiar with how it worked.

   During my attendance at the International Symposium on ALS I was told by many doctors that this device has provided for a very significant improvement in the in the care of ALS patients.

   On the lighter side, when Donna came home from the clinic with this device she immediately requested that our granddaughters choose a name that they liked and that we could all remember.  They immediately started calling it “Mr. Snuffaluffagus”, after the Sesame Street Character!!

The device is manufactured by Emerson and sold by Respironics.


   In the event that your physician determines that this device would be helpful for your particular situation, we recommend contacting a respiratory care provider such as RespicAir,P.C.   716- 278-0204 

Helpful Links

ALS Association : InExsufflator


2.    Non-invasive Bi-Pap Ventilation

A respiratory device that  provides face mask  administered ventilation  which -

  • Decreases the work of breathing
  • Increases the volume of air inhaled into the lungs
  • Improves breathing by removing carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen into the lungs
  • Improves quality of life by providing for increased  activity level during the day



Nasal mask

Nasal and Mouth mask 

Full face mask 

Selecting the mask that works best for each patient is very important



3.    Pulse Oximeter

  • The hand held pulse oximeter provides on-the-spot blood oximetry and heart rate readings. Features a  display, and a 72-hour memory.
    Designed to be easy to use for healthcare professionals and patients.
  • This device can simply  be placed around one finger and it  will provide a direct readout indicating oxygen levels and pulse.
  • Those readings were helpful in knowing when the use of Bi-Pap Non-Invasive Ventilation may be most important.



Helpful Links 

Dr. John Bach - Non-invasive ventilation

J.W. Emerson Company

Respironics Inc.

The following ALS Patient site is highly recommended as it has many links with ALS Specialists