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Thread: Vent Users - Frog Breathing

  1. #1
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    Vent Users - Frog Breathing

    Hi Vent Users,

    Did anyone learn "frog breathing" during rehabilitation?

    I'm wondering if this is commonly taught... if not, it should be!

    I recently learned about "frog breathing" from Dr. Onders' office -- the nurse claimed that respiratory therapists should know about this and that it's easier to "learn" with a diaphragm pacer. She also said that she has to show me cuz it's difficult to describe.

    I really want my Dad to learn this. But, the LT subacute respiratory therapist, who works with my Dad, claims that he's worked in the field for over 20 years and has never heard of it.

  2. #2
    The RT might know it by its proper name, which is glossopharyngeal breathing. Should know it by that name, is probably the case. I have never met an RT who didn't know what it was. And I have worked with many over the past 6+ years. But maybe some don't know.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! Uh oh, I just tried another RT at the LT subacute and gave her the proper name and nickname -- she also never heard of it, but she is interested in learning about it.

    I'll try another RT tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Maybe the technique isn't as well known as I thought it would be among RTs. One thing that maybe plays into that is learning it does take considerable time and effort on the part of both the RT and the vent user. I think it took me close to 2 months to learn how to do it effectively, although I learned it on a vent. I don't know if your dad is on a pacer but that might make it a lot quicker and easier for him to pick up. But despite the effort needed, it is worth it as there are many advantages to using frog breathing. Besides things like improved vital capacity all-around, which was huge for me because it improved my speech among other things, I can use it to do a weak, but functional cough and can breathe off the vent/pacer for up 30 minutes using it. I probably could go longer if needed in an emergency, but I have found that past half an hour my sat level starts dropping and I start running into trouble.

    I really hope you can find somebody to work with your dad on this. The ability to produce a cough, as weak as it is, has been a big benefit for my respiratory health. There is also a lot to be said about having the ability to breathe on your own. It makes things like transfers, bathing, dressing easier. And maybe most of all, provides piece of mind of being able to breathe on your own during an emergency.
    Last edited by orangejello; 04-09-2012 at 08:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    I'm glad to know that you learned it while on the vent.

    Kindly let me know - where did you learn "frog breathing?"

  6. #6
    It is not well known now days. It was initially developed for use by polio survivors when their iron lungs broke down, or for short periods out of their iron lungs. When I worked with vent patients in the late 1970s, there were PTs who taught this at Rancho Los Amigos who taught our PTs how to teach it. RT never had anything to do with it. Some places had speech pathologists who did this teaching instead. I suspect you may need to find somene at a Model System Center or similar facility (such as Santa Clara Valley, Rancho, or Craig) who can teach it to the RTs or other therapists involved with your dad. It is NOT easy, and is very fatiguing for the patient. Someone who has mastered it may be able to do it for up to an hour but that takes a lot of endurance and skill. Most can do it only a few minutes at a time.

    Here are a few resources:

    First, some historic articles:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00231-0034.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1962224/

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/158/6/445.extract

    http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/the-ameri...ing-aM1YI64xtc

    These are more recent:

    http://www.polioassociation.org/frog_breathing_SCI.pdf

    http://www.doctorbach.com/gpb.htm

    http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/82/6/590.abstract

    This one requires a subscription, but was published in 2011:

    http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/184/3/381.full

    This is available on Google Books:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=6tRrAAAAMAAJ

    This is a doctoral dissertation from Sweden:

    http://diss.kib.ki.se/2008/978-91-7357-533-1/thesis.pdf

    (KLD)

  7. #7
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    Hi KLD and others,

    Thank u so much -- and, I've communicated with vent-dependent persons who practice frog breathing or their own home-grown breathing techniques.

    I passed some of the article links to the Doc.

    However, the lead RT whom the Doctor echoes - claims that frog breathing is not appropriate for my Dad because he is on the vent and can't breathe off the vent -- they claim that it's more appropriate for other patients who have other conditions or are wearing a 'special' trach collar (for weaning?) or have some breathing capability.

    In my reading, frog breathing does not use the diaphragm but other accessory muscles -- and one of the big purposes is to help persons who are vent dependent.

    It seems that my Dad should try (even though it will be difficult) -- a few short minutes is better than none and he is willing to try. In Jan, it was found that his right diaphragm was moving about 25% -- so there is a little bit of diaphragm breathing. My understanding was that one of the difficulties is that one must practice while off the vent.

    Am I missing something? Would there be something lacking in my understanding of frog breathing which would preclude my Dad's learning?

  8. #8
    Their response indicates they are not experienced nor expert in the management of respiratory muscle failure in SCI. I have known a number of people with complete C1 and C2 SCI who were able to frog breath for as long as 30-45 minutes who were totally ventilator dependent....the whole reason they learned to do it was for safety if they had a ventilator failure or their vent tubing popped off their trach. This is also true for many of the people with polio who first invented glossalpharngeal breathing and were totally dependent upon iron lungs.

    (KLD)

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