Respiratory Therapist/CPT Therapy


My wife is on a ventilator and is supposed to getting CPT treatments 3 times a day.  The night RT's will give her the treatment while she is sitting up or laying down.  The day RT's will only give her the CPT treatment when she laying down.  They say it is too dangerous to do it sitting up because the Ventilator tubing can come off.  This is in the words of the RT Supervisor.  This makes no sense to me at all because the ventilator tubing comes apart with her just sitting in her wheelchair at a table playing games or eating.  Is there a dangerous problem with giving a CPT treatment while she is sitting up in a wheelchair or just laziness on the part of the RT?

Hi Bob,

Thank you for entrusting me with your medical questions today, I will do my best to help out here.  I think I'll avoid calling anyone "lazy" on here, but I will agree with you that it makes no sense at all to say it is more "dangerous" to do it sitting up on a vent rather than laying down. This is why we have nurses, other RTs, physical therapists, nurse aids around, to HELP us put the vent tubing in a safe place or simply hold it in place until the CPT is over. I don't even know how effective CPT would by lying flat, unless they are having her lay flat on her stomach with her head handing over the bed, which is how it was done way back when. In order to mobilize secretions, the chest needs to be placed in a position to do so. Laying flat on your back accomplishes little to nothing in the regard. What areas are they even percussing if she is laying down flat? Are they using a percussive mode on the bed where the bed just simply shakes and thumps for a dialed-in amount of time?

Larry, RRT  

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators (Respirators) - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness - Prolotherapy (from a patient's perspective) I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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