Medical Policy
Subject: Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation Devices
Document #: DME.00012Publish Date: 07/06/2022
Status: ReviewedLast Review Date: 05/12/2022

This document addresses the use of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation devices (IPV) (such as the Percussionaire® family of devices and the Volara System) as an alternative to conventional chest physical therapy to promote the clearance of respiratory secretions in individuals with impaired ability to cough or otherwise expel them on their own.

Note: Other types of mucous clearance systems are not addressed within this document (for example, the Flutter® Mucous Clearance System, the Acapella® Vibratory PEP Therapy System, etc.).

Note: For information regarding high frequency chest compression devices, please refer to:

Position Statement

Investigational and Not Medically Necessary:

Intrapulmonary percussive ventilation devices are considered investigational and not medically necessary for all indications, including but not limited to the following:


Chest physiotherapy (CPT), which is also known as percussion and postural drainage (P/PD), is traditionally seen as the standard of care of secretion clearance methods for individuals with excessive or retained lung secretions.

IPV devices have been investigated as an alternative to standard CPT and P/PD with or without manual vibration, with most studies having been in subjects with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF). Multiple IPV devices have been cleared by the FDA for similar indications, including the mobilization of endobronchial secretions. However, there is limited published data by which to establish the effectiveness of IPV as a beneficial modality for airway clearance. In the available studies, the numbers of subjects have been small, the study populations different, and the treatment settings different (in-hospital versus outpatient). Also, outcome measurements differed among the studies, including factors such as sputum volume, sputum viscosity, pulmonary function data or radiographic changes, depending on the study design and study population. The studies are inconclusive that compare IPV to different alternative airway clearance modalities, (for example, Flutter valve, and/or high frequency chest compression [HFCC] device, and/or standard CPT and P/PD).

Lauwers and colleagues (2018) conducted a systematic review on the effect of IPV in pediatric subjects. The researchers included trials through January 2018 in which subjects < 18 years old suffered from a respiratory disease requiring airway clearance. A total of nine articles (n=277) met the inclusion criteria (four randomized controlled trials, two randomized crossover trials, one prospective cohort study, and three retrospective studies; one article contained both a randomized controlled trial and a retrospective study). Due to the heterogeneity of the studies, the researchers were not able to conduct a meta-analysis. After a qualitative synthesis, the researchers concluded that IPV appears to be a safe and effective technique for airway clearance in pediatric subjects, with the most promising results found in those with atelectasis, neurological/neuromuscular diseases, and acute bronchiolitis. For clinically stable cystic fibrosis, the researchers did not find enough evidence to support IPV over conventional CPT. Because the available research is limited and the sample sizes are small, the researchers noted that the conclusions should be interpreted with caution. They recommended further research.

In 2018, Nicolini and others reported the results of a single-blind randomized clinical trial involving 60 subjects with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: 1) IPV with P/PD, 2) high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) with P/PD, and 3) P/PD alone. Subjects were treated for a period of 2 weeks and evaluated 1 week after completion. Compared to the control group, both IPV and HFCWO significantly improved scores on the Breathlessness, Cough and Sputum scale (BCSS), modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) scale and COPD Assessment Test (CAT) (no p-values provided). When compared to HFCWO, IPV resulted in significantly better scores on the BCSS and CAT scales (p<0.001 and p<0.02, respectively). Additionally, IPV improved total lung capacity (TLC, p<0.03) and TLC% (p<0.04), residual volume (RV) and RV% (p<0.04 for both), and diffusing lung capacity monoxide (DLCO), maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP), and maximal expiratory pressure (MEP; p<0.01 for all). No COPD exacerbations were reported during the study period. While the results of the study are promising, data from larger trials of longer duration are warranted to better understand the durability of the findings, including evaluation of net health outcomes. Use of a sham control group is important to assess the impact of subject measures such as dyspnea.

In 2019 Huynh and colleagues described the results of a non-randomized trial. The study involved subjects at high risk of pulmonary complications and who underwent thoracic, upper abdominal, or aortic procedures with no history of major pulmonary disease. A total of 210 historical controls who were treated postoperatively with standard care were compared to 209 subjects who were treated with IPV therapy postoperatively using the Hill-Rom MetaNeb® System. All subjects were followed for a total of 7 days postoperatively. Subjects in the IPV arm were significantly older and higher risk of complications than controls based on American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) risk scores (p<0.05 for both). The rate of postoperative pulmonary complications was not significantly difference between groups in unadjusted analysis (p=0.06), however, after adjusting for age, risk, and operative procedure duration a significant difference was reported (n=48 vs. 33, p=0.007). The number of subjects requiring high level respiratory support decreased from 12.9% to 11.5% between groups, but this difference was not statistically significant. Similarly, no significant differences were reported with regard to the number of subjects with ≥2 postoperative pulmonary complications, rates of pneumonia, or ICU admissions. The authors did report that a significant reduction in ICU admissions or transfers to higher levels of care were noted between groups in subjects with ASA risk scores of 4 and 5 (p=0.02). Additionally, mean reduction in time to initial extubation and total time on mechanical ventilation were both significantly decreased in the IPV group compared to controls (p<0.02 for both). The results of this trial indicate some promise for the postoperative use of IPV in subjects with high risk of pulmonary complications. However, additional data is needed to further evaluate the potential benefits, identify the appropriate subject population, and other factors.

Hassan and colleagues (2021b) conducted a retrospective pilot study to investigate the safety and effectiveness of IPV in non-ventilated individuals in critical care. A total of 22 subjects who received IPV intervention were compared with 13 subjects matched for age, sex and primary diagnosis who received chest physiotherapy (CPT). IPV intervention was delivered using the Hill-Rom MetaNeb System. Medical records were evaluated for feasibility, safety, changes in oxygen saturation, chest X-ray changes, and intensive care unit length of stay. There were no differences in intensive care unit length of stay or peripheral oxygen saturation between the IPV and CPT groups. In the IPV group, a greater proportion had lower radiological atelectasis scores post-intervention than in the CPT group. Individuals receiving IPV had no adverse events. The authors concluded that IPV was feasible and safe to administer. They also concluded that an adequately powered randomized control trial will be needed to properly assess effectiveness outcomes. The main intention of the study was to look at the safety and feasibility of IPV. The study does not show that use of IPV is associated with improvement of patient-centered health outcomes.

Hassan and colleagues (2021a) also reported on a systematic review of the effect of IPV on intensive care unit length of stay (ICU-LOS), the incidence of pneumonia and gas exchange in critically ill patients. Studies were included in the review if they examined the effectiveness of IPV in individuals aged greater than16 years receiving invasive or non-invasive ventilation or breathing spontaneously in critical care or high dependency units. Seven studies involving a total of 630 patients met the eligibility criteria. Of these studies, four were randomized controlled trials (RCT), one used a historical control group, and two were prospective observational studies. IPV was delivered by Percussionaire device or Hill-Rom MetaNeb System. Outcomes reported were ICU-LOS, the incidence of pneumonia, changes in PaO2, the ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen and fraction of inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2), PaCO2, and respiratory rate. The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale was used to measure the quality of all the included studies, allowing assessment of ten different domains that affect study quality. Using the PEDro scale, the quality of the studies ranged from “poor” to “good.” Overall, the authors concluded that “the evidence to support the role of IPV in reducing ICU-LOS, improving gas exchange, and reducing respiratory rate is weak. The therapeutic value of IPV in airway clearance, preventing pneumonia, and treating pulmonary atelectasis requires further investigation.

Within the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines on Nonpharmacologic Airway Clearance Therapies (McCool, 2006), the ACCP determined that the evidence supporting the use of oscillatory devices, including IPV, in the treatment of individuals with CF was low, and the reported benefits were conflicting.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation commissioned a systematic review to examine the evidence surrounding the use of airway clearance therapies (ACTs) for treating CF. Seven unique reviews and 13 additional controlled trials were deemed eligible for inclusion. Recommendations for use of the ACTs were made, balancing the quality of evidence and the potential harms and benefits. The committee determined that:

Although there is a paucity of controlled trials that assess the long-term effects of ACTs, the evidence quality overall for their use in CF is fair and the benefit is moderate… There are no ACTs demonstrated to be superior to others, so the prescription of ACTs should be individualized (Flume, 2009).

In a clinical practice guideline from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) on the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic airway clearance therapies (Strickland, 2013), the investigators state that IPV cannot be recommended due to insufficient evidence.

The limited data that is available suggests that IPV does not produce a superior outcome compared to standard CPT and P/PD, an HFCC device, or a Flutter valve device. Therefore, based on the lack of scientific data demonstrating its effectiveness and equivalence or superiority to established treatments, IPV is considered investigational and not medically necessary as an airway clearance modality.

Finally, the use of IPV devices for indications not related to airway clearance has not been adequately described in any well-designed trials the published peer-reviewed literature. Thus, such use is not supported by any rigorous evidence.


Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV) devices are a type of pneumatic, oscillating pressure breathing device that is designed to loosen mucus by internally percussing the airways using high frequency, high flow, and low pressure bursts of gas delivered via a mouthpiece, mask or endotracheal tube. The user actuates a thumb control to trigger 15 to 25 high frequency pulses of air during inspiration and releases the control to allow for passive exhalation. Airway pressures oscillate between 5 and 35 cm H2O, and the walls of the airways vibrate synchronously with these oscillations. A Venturi type system, powered by compressed gas, generates the oscillations at a rate of 100 to 300 cycles per minute. Pressures, inspiratory time, and delivery rates are adjustable. Additionally, some devices are designed to deliver aerosolized medications, such as bronchodilators and mucolytics, as well as other pulmonary therapies such as bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) and continuous positive expiratory pressure (CPEP). The clinical utility of the device is purportedly to loosen retained secretions by means of these airway oscillations, and it has been investigated in the treatment of individuals suffering from secretion retention (particularly that associated with CF), as well as atelectasis.

There are several devices with IPV capability currently available on the market, including the Volara System (Hill-Rom Services, Inc., Chicago, IL), and multiple Percussionaire Corporation TRUE-IPV® products (Sandpoint, ID) including the Bronchotron® Transport, Impulsator®, IPV®-1C, IPV®-2C, Phasitron®, Travel Air®, TXP®5, and the VDR®-4.


Bronchiectasis: A disorder of major bronchi and bronchioles characterized by abnormal airway dilatation and destruction of walls with resulting inflammation, edema, ulceration, and distortion. When large, unusual spaces are formed inside the airways of the lungs, mucus secretions can collect in these spaces and be difficult to clear. This can often lead to more infections and further lung damage, most commonly from infection or recurrent inflammation. Bronchiectasis can also be acquired from a tumor, inhaling a foreign object, or from a congenital condition.

Bronchitis: An inflammation of the upper airways associated with cough and mucus. It can be caused by infections (infectious bronchitis) or inflammation (smoker’s cough). Chronic bronchitis means that over the last 2 or more years, a person has been coughing up some mucus every day for at least 3 months out of the year.

Chest physiotherapy (CPT) (also known as chest physical therapy): The use of postural drainage, percussion, and vibration (PDPV) for airway clearance, which may also be referred to as percussion and postural drainage (P/PD). CPT is considered the standard of care of secretion clearance methods. This technique is time consuming, requires a skilled care provider and may be associated with discomfort, gastroesophageal reflux, and hypoxemia. The purpose of CPT is to improve mucociliary clearance and pulmonary function in order to reduce the risk of infection and lung damage.

Cystic fibrosis (CF): An autosomal recessive condition, the pulmonary manifestations of which include the production of excessive tenacious tracheobronchial mucus, leading to airway obstruction and secondary infection. This is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality associated with CF.

Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV): A treatment designed to promote mobilization of retained endobronchial secretions and resolution of diffuse patchy atelectasis (areas of partial lung collapse/dysfunction). IPV delivers a series of pressurized mini-bursts of inhaled air and continuous therapeutic aerosol through a nebulizer. IPV users breathe through a mouthpiece and then cough to clear the loosened secretions.


The following codes for treatments and procedures applicable to this document are included below for informational purposes. Inclusion or exclusion of a procedure, diagnosis or device code(s) does not constitute or imply member coverage or provider reimbursement policy. Please refer to the member’s contract benefits in effect at the time for service to determine coverage or non-coverage of these services as it applies to an individual member.

When services are Investigational and Not Medically Necessary:




Intrapulmonary percussive ventilation system and related accessories


Durable medical equipment, miscellaneous [when specified as a combination continuous positive expiratory pressure (CPEP) and continuous high frequency oscillation (CHFO) device such as the Volara System for oscillation and lung expansion (OLE) therapy]



ICD-10 Diagnosis



All diagnoses


Peer Reviewed Publications:

  1. Birnkrant DJ, Pope JF, Lewarski J, et al. Persistent pulmonary consolidation treated with intrapulmonary percussive ventilation: a preliminary report. Pediatr Pulmonol. 1996; 21(4):246-249.
  2. Braggion C, Cappelletti LM, Cornacchia M, et al. Short-term effects of three chest physiotherapy regimens in patients hospitalized for pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis: a cross-over randomized study. Pediatr Pulmonol. 1995; 19(1):16-22.
  3. Deakins K, Chatburn RL. A comparison of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation and conventional chest physiotherapy for the treatment of atelectasis in the pediatric patient. Respir Care. 2002; 47(10):1162-1167.
  4. Hassan A, Lai W, Alison J et al. Effect of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation on intensive care unit length of stay, the incidence of pneumonia and gas exchange in critically ill patients: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2021a; 16(7):e0255005.
  5. Hassan A, Milross M, Lai W et al. Feasibility and safety of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation in spontaneously breathing, non-ventilated patients in critical care: A retrospective pilot study. J Intensive Care Soc. 2021b; 22(2):111-119.
  6. Hess DR. The evidence for secretion clearance techniques. Respir Care. 2001; 46(11):1276-1293.
  7. Homnick DN, White F, de Castro C. Comparison of effects of an intrapulmonary percussive ventilator to standard aerosol and chest physiotherapy in treatment of cystic fibrosis. Pediatr Pulmonol. 1995; 20(1):50-55.
  8. Huynh TT, Liesching TN, Cereda M, et al. Efficacy of oscillation and lung expansion in reducing postoperative pulmonary complication. J Am Coll Surg. 2019; 229(5):458-466.e1.
  9. Kluft J, Beker L, Castagnino M, et al. A comparison of bronchial drainage treatments in cystic fibrosis. Pediatr Pulmonol. 1996; 22(4):271-274.
  10. Lauwers E, Ides K, Van Hoorenbeeck K, Verhulst S. The effect of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation in pediatric patients: A systematic review. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2018; 53(11):1463-1474.
  11. Natale JE, Pfeifle J, Homnick DN. Comparison of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation and chest physiotherapy. A pilot study in patients with cystic fibrosis. Chest. 1994; 105(6):1789-1793.
  12. Newhouse PA, White F, Marks JH, Homnick DN. The intrapulmonary percussive ventilator and flutter device compared to standard chest physiotherapy in patients with cystic fibrosis. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1998; 37(7):427-432.
  13. Nicolini A, Grecchi B, Ferrari-Bravo M, Barlascini C. Safety and effectiveness of the high-frequency chest wall oscillation vs intrapulmonary percussive ventilation in patients with severe COPD. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2018; 13:617-625.
  14. Sontag MK, Quittner AL, Modi AC, et al. Lessons learned from a randomized trial of airway secretion clearance techniques in cystic fibrosis. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2010; 45(3):291-300.
  15. Toussaint M, De Win H, Steens M, Soudon P. Effect of intrapulmonary percussive ventilation on mucus clearance in Duchene muscular dystrophy patients: a preliminary report. Respir Care. 2003; 48(10):940-947.
  16. Varekojis SM, Douce FH, Flucke RL, et al. A comparison of the therapeutic effectiveness of and preference for postural drainage and percussion, intrapulmonary percussive ventilation, and high-frequency chest wall compression in hospitalized cystic fibrosis patients. Respir Care. 2003; 48(1):24-28.

Government Agency, Medical Society, and Other Authoritative Publications:

  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. National Coverage Determination for Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilator. NCD #240.5. Effective date: July 14, 1997. Available at: Accessed on January 27, 2022.
  2. Finder JD, Birnkrant D, Carl J, et al.; American Thoracic Society. Respiratory care of the patient with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: ATS consensus statement. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004; 170(4):456-465.
  3. Flume PA, Robinson KA, O'Sullivan BP, et al. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis pulmonary guidelines: airway clearance therapies. Respir Care. 2009; 54(4):522-537.
  4. Irwin RS, Baumann MH, Bolser DC, et al.; American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). Diagnosis and management of cough executive summary: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2006; 129(1 Suppl):1S-23S.
  5. Lee AL, Burge A, Holland AE. Airway clearance techniques for bronchiectasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(5):CD008351.
  6. McCool FD, Rosen MJ. Nonpharmacologic airway clearance therapies: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2006; 129(1 Suppl):250S-259S.
  7. Morrison L, Innes S. Oscillating devices for airway clearance in people with cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;(5):CD006842.
  8. Osadnik CR, McDonald CF, Jones AP, Holland AE. Airway clearance techniques for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(3):CD008328.
  9. Strickland SL, Rubin BK, Drescher GS, et al. American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) clinical practice guideline: Effectiveness of nonpharmacologic airway clearance therapies in hospitalized patients. Respir Care. 2013; 58(12):2187-2193.
  10. Yankaskas JR, Marshall BC, Sufian B, et al. Cystic fibrosis adult care: consensus conference report. Chest. 2004; 125(1 Suppl):1S-39S.
Websites for Additional Information
  1. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Available at: Accessed on January 27, 2022.

Bronchotron Transport
Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV)
Percussionaire Device
Travel Air
Volara System

The use of specific product names is illustrative only. It is not intended to be a recommendation of one product over another, and is not intended to represent a complete listing of all products available. 

Document History






Medical Policy & Technology Assessment Committee (MPTAC) review. Updated Rationale and References sections.



MPTAC review. Revised Title to remove “for airway clearance”. Clarified Position Statement. Updated Description/Scope, Background, Coding, References, and Index sections.



MPTAC review. Rationale, References and Websites sections updated.



MPTAC review. References and Websites sections updated.



MPTAC review. Rationale, Background/Overview, References, and Websites sections updated.



MPTAC review. Moved content related to HFCC Devices to new document CG-DME-43 “High Frequency Chest Compression Devices for Airway Clearance.” The document header wording updated from “Current Effective Date” to “Publish Date.” Description/Scope, Definitions, Coding, References, and Websites sections updated.



MPTAC review. Updated formatting in Position Statement section. Updated References section.



MPTAC review. References were updated.  Removed ICD-9 codes from Coding section.



MPTAC review. Updated Reference and Index sections.



MPTAC review. Updated Reference and Index sections.



MPTAC review. The Rationale, Background, and References were updated.



MPTAC review. References were updated.



MPTAC review. Age criteria of 2 years and older was removed for HFCC devices.  A not medically necessary statement was added regarding device replacement/upgrade.  The title was revised to remove brand names.  The Rationale and References were updated.



MPTAC review. The Rationale, Background, Definitions and References were updated.



MPTAC review. No change to the actual medical necessity criteria but the language of the reporting requirement to demonstrate compliance with device use was clarified. The Coding section was updated. Definitions and References were also updated.



MPTAC review. The phrase “investigational/not medically necessary” was clarified to read “investigational and not medically necessary.”  This change was approved at the November 29, 2007 MPTAC meeting. References were updated.



MPTAC review. The Rationale and References sections were updated.



MPTAC review. References were updated to include the AARC Clinical Practice Guideline: Postural Drainage Therapy. 



MPTAC review. Revised document: High Frequency Chest Compression Devices revised based on Pre-merger Anthem and Pre-merger WellPoint Harmonization.  Position statement revised to include Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV); removed HCPCS codes S8200 and S8205 (deleted 01/01/2003)

Updated coding: Added ICD-9 codes 335.10-335.19, 335.20-335.29, 358.0-359.9, 359.0-359.9, 494.0-494.1

Pre-Merger Organizations

Last Review Date

Document Number


Anthem, Inc.



High Frequency Chest Compression Devices

WellPoint Health Networks, Inc



High-Frequency Chest Wall Compression


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