Many people are interested in this new device called the Afflo vest. For all of us who are involved in the CF community this is something that everyone wants to know more about and even try. I am writing this today to provide my honest opinion and feedback on the Afflo vest.
For starters let me begin by stating I DO NOT represent Afflo vest, its company, employees or any other affiliated party in any way. I did purchase this device for all those who may be wondering! What I am about to share with you is MY unbiased review and opinion of the Afflo vest.
I will start by listing the pros/cons. Under each of the pros/cons I will provide more detail.
1.) Rechargeable lithium Battery powered vest with optional cigarette lighter charger (12v) and electrical plug in option.
I think from the dawn of the traditional vests we all wanted something to be more portable with the same effect. For me, I believe the Afflo has accomplished this. I no longer have to sit at my desk and surf the net. I have now, been able to bring my Afflo basically anywhere I go. Just the other day I was able to “Afflo” (get used to the NEW word Afflo, Affloed, and Affloing as it will be used often) while supervising my 1.5 year old daughter while my wife was cooking dinner. My wife loved this 100 times over as we were killing the vest and the dinner with one stone! In the days of old with my traditional vest this never would happen. I was confined to my office and not being a productive husband or father.
The cigarette lighter charger is wonderful if your lithium ion battery is running low while you are traveling in the car. (The lithium ion battery will last you about 4 treatments if you use it for 20-30 minutes a treatment.) Yes, I even have affloed now many times in the car. In fact, this is something I think that will only help us get in our treatment. Many of us travel to work or run errands on a daily basis. Instead of just sitting in the car listening to music you can now get your Afllo and get your airway treatment in. Oh and you can also listen to music, neb, and afflo in the car without cranking the music up to its highest volume.
To me the ability to be portable and get treatments in is a game changer especially for many of us who either have busy lifestyles raising children, going to work, and running errands. There will now be NO EXCUSE to miss a single treatment with the Afflo device.
2.) No tubes or electrical cords!
In the traditional vest system you are tethered with a tube or two and an electrical cord. The Afflo has no tubes or cords. No tubes equates to no more of those tubes popping off during vest time. I always hated it when the tubes popped off and deflated my vest. No tubes plus no electrical cords equals doing my treatment anywhere on earth assuming my battery is charged.
3.) No inflatable air bladder like traditional vest systems.
The traditional vest systems use an air bladder system that is required to be filled with the air compressor and generator. This air bladder system I feel squeezes us way to hard and suffocates many of us while we try to neb and receive effective airway clearance. The Afflo does not have an air bladder system nor does it squeeze you to death like the traditional vest. I feel that without the air bladder strangling me that I am now able to get an effective nebulization in compared to the traditional vest. This is another game changer compared to traditional vests.
4.) Very quiet during operation.
As I mentioned above this has to be the quietest vest on the market. There is no more cranking up the volume on the radio, tv, or computer to hear your favorite show, music, or game. I LOVE this about the Afflo. I can now watch tv or listen to music without damaging my hearing or waking up our sleeping toddler. The quiet operation will be so welcomed by many parents with CF as they care for their child!!
5.) Afflo vest targets all areas of lungs. Chest, lower lobes, back etc. whereas traditional vest system was suffocating.
Unlike traditional vest systems, the Afflo vest targets all areas of the lungs. In fact, since its so portable you can lay down on your side, on your back back, or on your stomach, or even do a head stand! With all the various treatment settings you can really feel all of your lung lobes getting a full airway clearance. Again, the Afflo is superior to me in this category compared to any other vest.
6.) 3 treatment settings with 3 intensity levels
As I mentioned above, with all these settings and intensity levels I feel that my lungs are receiving superior airway clearance. In fact, my lungs have never felt this clear in years! There is a soft, medium and intense intensity setting. The range of hz is 5 for low then about 13 hz for medium and 20 hz for intense. The 3 treatment settings are drainage, vibration, and percussion. I feel the Afflo vibrates your lungs so differently compared to the traditional vests. You receive the same voice vibration like you do traditional vests so I know something is being shaken up inside.
7.) Ease of use and travel ability
The Afflo vest is a very easy device to operate and use. If you have ever used a traditional vest before you will have no problem using this. It also comes with a nice bag that you can use for traveling. Since the vest itself weighs a little less than 10 pounds it’s not heavy to carry a long. I have even used the Afflo walking around the house and felt that it has been just as effective as sitting down. For all the active CFers out there I assume you could even use this on the treadmill or riding a bike.
8.) You can nebulize while using the Afflo
To me another game changer is you can nebulize effectively while using the afflo. I always felt the traditional vest squeezed me so much that it was difficult to effectively inhale and exhale a nebulized medicine. With the afflo you can still get a good deep breath in and feel the vibration in your lungs.
9.) Compared to the traditional vest Afflo is superior.
The point of this last bullet is just for me to say I feel that the Afflo is superior to the traditional vests on many levels. The ease of mobility now with Afflo cannot be matched. The way the Afflo hits all of my lung lobes is truly a game changer. The mucus clearance and mucus secretions I have now are much thinner and easier to get out of my lungs.
1.) The Afflo may be too heavy for kids and cf patients who may have declined health. That is if they want to walk around with the afflo vest on.
Currently Afflo vests DO NOT fit kids below the age of 8 years old. So there is a con for all the parents to young cfers. But I do hope the maker of the Afflo vest will figure a way to make them for younger children.
Yes, one of the pros is that this device weighs 10 pounds but that weight may be an issue for anyone who is experiencing declined health. You can always sit down with the Afflo and watch tv, read a book, use the computer, or even lay down.
2.) The lithium ion battery could last a little longer or maybe have a more visible reminder to charge the battery.
Any battery operated device will have limitations. So yes, I wish the battery lasted for 10 treatments but I also do not want to carry a 5 pound battery around either. There is a battery indicator light on the battery to let you know when it needs recharged. But in today’s world where people want immediate results or access like a cell phone battery life this is a shortcoming. I don’t see it as a problem just something you have to remember to do, plug in that battery to recharge. But there are also regular wall hook ups and car adapter to use if you forget to charge the battery.
3.) I think there should be more intensity level settings.
Yes, there are 3 intensity levels but many of us are used to the traditional vests where you can select the hz and frequency. I feel the soft mode doesn’t do anything for me. I mainly use the medium and intense modes.
4.) The buttons holding the battery in place are tough to undue.
The buttons holding the battery are not very easy to unsnap. Yes, that is a picky statement but something I have observed while using the afflo.
5.) Afllo needs to create a pouch for the nebulizer machine or offer a nebulizer machine that runs on batteries as well.
A downfall to the Afflo is if you want to neb and walk around the neighborhood you need another battery operated compressor device. Thankfully I have the Pari Trek which can be operated with a lithium battery. Also, a pouch to put the compressor in the Afflo would be handy as opposed to carrying the compressor around.
6.) My biggest con comes from what I have heard drs and respiratory therapist saying about Afflo. DO NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER!
This by far is not a CON that Afflo has, but a CON I see in the CF community. There are so many doctors and respiratory therapists claiming the Afflo isn’t as good as the traditional vest treatments. Hmm, lovely! So we have the doctors and respiratory therapists not buying off on the Afflo. Why is that? Do they themselves have CF? That is the first question I would ask. How would a person without CF be able to tell you that the old school hand PT is better than the traditional vest and the traditional vest is better than the Afflo? They honestly cannot tell us that. There is no better way to know if this device works for you unless you actually use it.
I like to compare the traditional vest as the typewriter and the afflo vest as the computer. We know the typewriter is old and out dated because the computer has more to offer us. This is how I feel about the afflo. There is a reason why we no longer do traditional manual PT and there will soon be many people who will switch from the traditional vest to the afflo.
Again, all this is based on my own personal opinion and use of the afflo device. As many of us all know that no two CFers are alike so the only way to know if this device works for you is to try it. I feel though that I was a good subject to base this review on as I have been 100% compliant for almost 500 days. I also made a point to discontinue the use of my traditional vest to see if I noticed afflo vest making a difference.
I can honestly say after using the Afflo for a little over 2 weeks now I wouldn’t ever go back to the traditional vest. My breathing is so much better and my mucus is basically non existent. Yes, the first week or so I was clearing many old mucus plugs and could tell something was working. I have also been able to get airway clearance in the car and outside with my daughter. So I have increased my treatment time in a day from 1 hour to about 1 hour and 15 mins. More treatment is only better for my lungs!
I will leave you all with this exciting news I have had with my at home PFT monitor. I actually sent these below paragraphs to the manufacturer of Afflo……
In fact, I have an at home lung function monitor to use just to gauge where my lung functions are before I go to clinic every 3 months. For all those who are not familiar with lung function testing, it is a marker of how much damage has taken place in your lungs. A reading from 80-120% FEV1 is considered a normal lung function score. For many of us in the cystic fibrosis community we experience debilitating lung infections that decrease our lung functions overtime which can result in lung transplants and also death.
The last official CF clinic I had was in mid April 2014 and I blew a 74% FEV1. But I still wanted to get my FEV1 back into the 80s or as high as possible. Yesterday, I put my lung function to the test after using the AFFLO vest religiously for these past 6 days. I was beyond shocked to see a number I have not seen since I was a teenager. The number I blew was 81% FEV1! In fact, I blew again and produced this same result.
I told my wife my score and her first comment was this…..”WOW, the last time you were in the 80% was when I met you back in high school!” Yes, that was when I was 16 years old. It has been 13 years since I blew a number in the 80s. All I can say is I feel like I gained back 13 years of my life!
The AFFLO vest is something that is working for me and I feel it will work for many other cystic fibrosis patients around the world
Just as the title says “AFFLO Vest – It’s changing my life!” I want you all to try this device to see if it will work for you. The people at the Afflo company have been so helpful and wonderful to work with. If you would like to see if you can get an Afflo call this number, 1-888-711-1145.