Hill-Rom is a leader in respiratory health innovations with products designed to deliver airway clearance and lung expansion therapies as well as a digital health platform to manage therapy information for patients and healthcare professionals.
In 1985, researchers at the University of Minnesota began developing a therapeutic device that would replace manual chest percussion therapy to help clear excess secretions from Cystic Fibrosis patients’ lungs. They received the ‘263 Patent for their invention, which is embodied in the Model 101. In 1988, Advanced Respiratory licensed the patent, received initial FDA market clearance on the device for airway clearance therapy, and distributed 285 devices under the name, ThAIRapy™ Vest.
With the Model 101 on the market, Advanced Respiratory engineers worked on ways to improve the original design, thereby making the device less industrial and more portable. As a result, the company launched the Model 102 in 1991 and distributed nearly 1,400 devices over a four-year period.
Advanced Respiratory engineers continued to make design improvements, this time reducing the device size, weight, and noise by nearly 70 percent. On March 14, 2000, the ‘662 Patent was issued to Advanced Respiratory for the technology embodied in the Model 103. By this time, the device was commonly known in the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) community–and an increasing number of physicians were recognizing the benefits of HFCWO therapy for non-CF patients as well.
The device was renamed The Vest® Airway Clearance System in 2001.
Advanced Respiratory redesigned The Vest® Airway Clearance System so it would fit easily into patients’ lifestyles in 2003 with the launch of Model 104. This version boasted simpler controls and monitoring features while weighing only 17 pounds and fitting into a custom-designed duffel bag. The device was also expanded into the acute care market.
In 2003, Hill-Rom acquired Advanced Respiratory, Inc (ARI) and continued to invest in innovating the technology.
An acute care version, Model 205, of the The Vest® Airway Clearance System was launched for hospitals and long term care facilities. The Model 205 offers disposable hoses and single patient use garments in both a full vest and wrap vest in a variety of sizes.
Hill-Rom continued to make improvements with the device to meet the needs of its patients. With the launch of the Model 105 many advances were achieved. The Model 105 offered a new custom-designed duffel bag on wheels making The Vest® System even more portable.
Other enhancements for The Model 105 were the introduction of the Cough Pause™ feature enabling patients and caregivers to program a reminder to cough during their therapy sessions. We also introduced the C3® Garment Line introducing 5 color garment options. By 2011 The Vest® System has been prescribed for more than 97,000 patients by more than 17,000 physicians worldwide.
Hill-Rom launched The MetaNeb® System Model 4.0 in 2013. This is a multi-therapy device that combines lung expansion, secretion clearance, and aerosol delivery into a single integrated therapy session—without having to switch between different devices. Designed to save time for patients and clinicians by not using multiple devices for therapy, it introduces continuous high frequency oscillation (CHFO) therapy immediately after lungs have been expanded through continuous positive expiratory pressure (CPEP). This device is available in the Acute Care only.
In 2014, Hill-Rom introduced The VitalCough® System. It is a noninvasive therapy that simulates a cough to remove secretions in patients with compromised peak cough flow. What is unique about this product is the touchscreen and the resting positive pressure during the pause cycle (PAP on Pause). It is designed to be easy to use for trained caregivers and patients at home, hospital, nursing care or rehabilitation settings.
Hill-Rom introduces its newest color and size in the C3® Washable Garment Line to provide the right size for every patient with our new 16" C3® Garment. Hill-Rom also added a 6th color option to the C3® Washable Garment Line called Cute Camo.
In 2016, Hill-Rom introduced the first Airway Clearance System with Bluetooth® connectivity, The VisiVest™ Airway Clearance System is the next generation of The Vest® System. The VisiVest™ System gives health care teams, patients, and caregivers prompt treatment information through The VisiView® Health Portal, to help patients stay motivated and keep on track with their therapy sessions.
The Monarch™ Airway Clearance System is a mobile device that provides high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy in a mobile vest with a personalized fit. With its sporty design and stylish shells, the Monarch™ System uses Pulmonary Oscillating Discs (PODs) that provide targeted kinetic energy and HFCWO to the lungs to thin mucus and generate airflow, moving mucus up and out of the lungs. The Monarch™ System allows a patient to be active and productive while receiving therapy. The Monarch™ System also incorporates LTE or WiFi technology to keep patients wirelessly connected to their care team using Hill-Rom's VisiView® Health Portal. With VisiView, patients and health care teams share a user-friendly dashboard to view therapy data and trends for enhanced teamwork.