Leila Cruikshank

Autogenic Drainage (AD)

Autogenic drainage (AD) is an airway clearance technique aimed at moving mucus in the airways through breathing in a controlled manner. It was developed in Belgium in
1967, at the Zeepreventorium De Haan, an institution dedicated to the care of difficult asthma. It stemmed from observations that suggested mucus can be cleared during
breathing exercises, playing, laughing, huffs, or even sleep.

The AD technique involves breathing in different lung volumes with a high airflow during expiration (breathing out). Coughing is strongly discouraged during the AD technique. People using the AD technique need to be able to obtain feedback of mucus moving through hearing and feeling in their chest.

AD is initiated with a slow breath in through the nose, followed by two to three seconds of breath hold. The three phases of the technique, referring to the depth of the airways being targeted and the volume of air breathing in and out, are:

Phase 1: "Unsticking" of mucus in smaller airways
Phase 2: Collection of secretions from the smaller airways
Phase 3: Evacuation of mucus

Autogenic Drainage

This is a complicated airway clearance technique to learn and perform. It should be carefully taught and reviewed by our physiotherapist on the CF team.