Evaluation of Pressure Generated by Resistors From Different Positive Expiratory Pressure Devices
Journal article, 2015

BACKGROUND: Breathing exercises with positive expiratory pressure (PEP) are used to improve pulmonary function and airway clearance. Different PEP devices are available, but there have been no studies that describe the pressure generated by different resistors. The purpose of this study was to compare pressures generated from the proprietary resistor components of 4 commercial flow-dependent PEP valves with all other parameters kept constant. METHODS: Resistors from 4 flow-regulated PEP devices (Pep/Rmt system, Wellspect HealthCare; Pipe P breathing exerciser, Koo Medical Equipment; Mini-PEP, Philips Respironics [including resistors by RĂ¼sch]; and 15-mm endo-adapter, VBM Medizintechnik) were tested randomly by a blinded tester at constant flows of 10 and 18 L/min from an external gas system. All resistors were tested 3 times. RESULTS: Resistors with a similar diameter produced statistically significant different pressures at the same flow. The differences were smaller when the flow was 10 L/min compared with 18 L/min. The differences were also smaller when the diameter of the resistor was increased. The pressures produced by the 4 resistors of the same size were all significantly different when measuring 1.5- and 2.0-mm resistors at a flow of 10 L/min and 2.0-mm resistors at a flow of 18 L/min (P < .001). There were no significant differences between any of the resistors when testing sizes of 4.5 and 5.0 mm at either flow. The Mini-PEP and adapter resistors gave the highest pressures. CONCLUSIONS: Pressures generated by the different proprietary resistor components of 4 commercial PEP devices were not comparable, even though the diameter of the resistors is reported to be the same. The pressures generated were significantly different, particularly when using small-diameter resistors at a high flow. Therefore, the resistors may not be interchangeable. This is important information for clinicians, particularly when considering PEP for patients who do not tolerate higher pressures.

positive expiratory pressure

resistance breathing

breathing exercises


Monika Fagevik Olsén

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Maria Carlsson

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Erik Olsén

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Biological Physics

Elisabeth Westerdahl

Örebro University

Respiratory Care

0020-1324 (ISSN)

Vol. 60 10 1418-1423

Subject Categories


Anesthesiology and Intensive Care

General Practice



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