The Acapella® is a hand-held device that combines back pressure and vibrations to help clear
mucus and expand the lungs.
How to do an Acapella® Treatment
1. Before beginning the treatment, wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use anti-
bacterial hand gel, to reduce the risk of infection.
2. Set the dial to a number which gives you a comfortable breath when breathing out. Rotate
the end dial to “1” for less resistance, and “5” for more resistance.
3. Sit upright with your elbows resting on a table, using good posture.
4. Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and make a tight seal around the mouthpiece with
5. Take a deep breath.
6. Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.
7. Blow out slowly and forcefully into the Acapella®. Keep your cheeks hard and flat while
you are breathing out.
8. During the time you are breathing out, you will feel a “fluttering” sensation in your neck
and lungs. If you put your hand on your chest while exhaling, you should feel the
vibrations. If you do not feel vibrations on your chest, blow out with more force or change
the dial for more resistance.
9. Breathe out 3 to 4 times as long as you breathe in.
10. Keep taking slow deep breaths while breathing out through your Acapella® valve for about
5 minutes or 20 breaths.
11. Remove the mouthpiece and cough or “huff cough”.
To huff cough, take a deep breath. Hold it for 1-3 seconds. Then, force air out of your
lungs with your mouth open like you would do if you were trying to fog a mirror.
12. Continue breathing with the Acapella® with breaks to cough about every 5 minutes for a
total treatment time of 20 – 30 minutes.
13. It is very important to pace yourself as you breathe out into the Acapella® device.
Pause for a few seconds between breaths. If you feel dizzy or get a headache while
doing the Acapella®, stop and breathe normally. Finish your Acapella® treatment at a
14. After doing an Acapella® treatment, it very important to remove the mouthpiece and
open the device to air dry between uses. Air drying will help prevent germs from
growing inside the Acapella®. There is a round metal disc inside the Acapella® which
should be dried to prevent rusting.
15. Your doctor has ordered the therapy ______ times per day.
Using the Acapella® with Your Nebulizer
Your Acapella® can be used at the same
time you are doing your nebulizer
treatment. Follow the set-up picture.
You must take breaths in through the
Acapella® mouthpiece to get medicine
into your lungs.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Acapella®
The Acapella® should be cleaned and disinfected every day, using one of the following
Dishwasher/Baby Bottle Steamer Method
Take apart the Acapella®. Put the pieces of the Acapella® in a basket on the top shelf of the
dishwasher or in steamer. Using a rinse aid in your dishwasher will cut mineral build up
from your water.
Rubbing Alcohol Method
1. Take the Acapella® apart. Wash the pieces in warm soapy water.
2. Rinse with hot tap water.
3. Place the Acapella® pieces in a bowl and add enough rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
to completely cover the pieces.
4. Soak the Acapella® pieces for 5 minutes.
5. Rinse the Acapella® pieces with sterile water. Do not use water from the faucet, bottled,
or distilled water. You can make water sterile by boiling it for 5 minutes. Use this water
once, and then throw it out.
6. Place the Acapella® pieces on a paper towel to dry.
Cleaning your Nebulizer
If you are using the Acapella® with a nebulizer, please clean your nebulizer at the same time that
you clean your Acapella®. Please see the Nebulizer for Respiratory Therapy Health Facts for
You #6922 for nebulizer cleaning instructions.
If you have questions or need supplies contact UW Home Health at (608) 203-2273.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright 10/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#6006