Frequently Asked Questions

Should you have any questions regarding Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation, or any of United Hayek's ventilation products, please email or call us at any time.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

In the meantime, click on the questions below.

"Can Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation (BCV) be used instead of invasive ventilation (IPPV)"

Yes, in most cases BCV can be used instead of invasive ventilation.

"Can a tracheostomy be removed if using BCV?"

The tracheostomy can be removed provided there is a patent airway and a physician determines that BCV is fulfilling the ventilatory requirements.

"Is it possible to use BCV with other forms of ventilation such as mas based or invasive ventilation at the same time?

Yes. BCV van be used either instead of an alternative method of ventilation or in conjunction with another form of ventilation in most cases.

"Can BCV be used long term?"

BCV can be used long term, for months, for years or for a lifetime.

"When is BCV not suitable?

BCV generally requires a patent airway, and a stable spine. BCV may not be suitable for burn patients in some cases. BCV may not be effective for patients who are morbidly obese. Using BCV during pregnancy is discouraged.

"What advantages does BCV have over other forms of non-invasive ventilation such as mask based bi-level ventilation?"

BCV is comfortable to use. There are no obstructions to vision or speech as the Cuirass shell is placed over the torso, not over the face. Furthermore, unique to BCV is an active expiratory phase, which bi-level mask based devices do not provide.

"Can BCV be self applied?

Yes. In most cases, depending on patient mobility.

"Can BCV be used aboard an aircraft?

Yes. Some BCV devices comply with all relevant air travel regulations and can safely be used abroad an aircraft but please check with your BCV vendor prior to travel to ensure that your device complies with the regulations.

"Can BCV be used with oxygen?"


"Can I eat and drink while using BCV?"

Generally yes. However, in some modes of treatment this may not be recommended - for example in secretion clearance mode. If in doubt, consult a physician for advice.

"What are the side effects of using BCV?"

There are no known harmful side effects of using BCV.

"Can BCV devices be battery powered?"

Yes. Some BCV devices are battery powered.

"Can BCV be used with an abnormal body shape, or severe scoliosis?"

Yes, in most cases.

"Why does BCV help with the problem of CO2 retention?"

As BCV devices can operate at both high frequencies and have an active expiratory phase, they are able to very effectively control CO2.

"How often are the seals changed on the cuirass?"

Cuirass seals are strictly single patient use for infection control purposes. Typically, one seal per patient per week is sufficient but varies according to the mode and frequency of use.

"Can BCV be used while sleeping?"


"What clinical evidence is available for the use of BCV?"

Too much to list. Please refer to the BCV publications list of consult our website.

"Is a prescription required for a BCV device?"


"Can the Cuirass (the plastic shell) be used on bare skin?"

Yes, but it is recommended to wear a lightweight garment such as a sleeveless shirt or t-shirt.

"Can BCV be used with chest drains or feeding tubes?"

Yes. While an air tight vacuum needs to be created over the chest, the Cuirass seals are soft enough to prevent drains and tubes from becoming occluded.

"Can BCV be used on patients with only one lung, or who have had a pneumonectomy?"


"How do BCV devices perform secretion clearance and why do they help with clearing secretions?"

BCV devices are able to deliver High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO) to loosen the secretions, followed by an assisted cough to help expel them.

"What is the difference between BCV Physiotherapy/Secretion Clearance modes for secretion management and products such as the Hill-RomVest?"

A great deal. Whilst both high frequency chest wall compression (HFCWC) systems, such as the Hill-Rom Vest system, and Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation (BCV) systems, such as the United Hayek RTX, provide secretion clearance treatment and can work at high frequencies, they are two totally different methods, which must be distinguished between.

High Frequency Chest Wall Compression has only one active phase (on the chest) and compresses the chest from its initial lung volume (FRC) to below lung volume as it compresses, and then recoils back towards its initial lung volume. It has been shown in animal studies that this may cause reduction in FRC (Zidulka - High Frequency Chest Wall Compression Am Rev of Respir Dis 1982; 127: 709-713)

This may not be favorable with patients that have some alveolar collapse, which many of the patients requiring secretion clearance treatment have.

The Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation method has two active phases. One increases lung volume to above FRC (initial lung volume) by expanding the chest and only then compressing the chest to the desired level, preserving or augmenting lung volume (and thus avoiding lung collapse), and creating substantial expiratory airflow during secretion clearance and ventilation. This allows for the creation of a very efficient and physiological secretion clearance method.

To consider or describe BCV devices as high frequency chest wall compression devices is absolutely incorrect, both in terms of the method used and in terms of the results achieved.

BCV devices also have a dedicated cough mode that uses an inverse I:E ratio to provide a long inspiration and a short sharp expiration helping to produce a cough. Vest type devices do not have such capability.

"Are BCV devices covered by insurance and/or National or Federal Health systems in the United State of America or the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom?"

Yes. Please contact your nearest BCV provider or United Hayek for information.

"How do I locate my nearest BCV provider or distributor?"

Contact United Hayek to find your nearest vendor. Our contact details are printed on the back page of this booklet.