The Flutter is a small hand-held device that is used to remove mucus from the lungs. When exhaling through the mouthpiece, the steel ball inside the Flutter moves up and down causing a vibration inside the lungs. This vibration loosens mucus in the airways and lung walls. The airflow when you breathe out helps move mucus up the bronchial tubes and maintains open airways.


How to do a Flutter Treatment

  1. Before beginning the treatment, wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use anti-bacterial hand gel, to reduce the risk of infection.

  2. Relax and sit upright with your head slightly tilted back, so your airway is open.

  3. Take a deep breath in and hold for 2-3 seconds. This allows the air to distribute equally throughout the lungs.

  4. Exhale if you can through the flutter while keeping your cheeks hard and flat.

  5. The angle of your Flutter is critical. Start with the stem of the flutter horizontal to the floor. The bowl of the Flutter is at a slight tilt. This tilt insures that the ball bounces and rolls while you exhale making the vibrations that loosen the mucus. Place your hand on your chest while you exhale to decide the best vibration or “fluttering”. Tilt your flutter to give you the best vibration.

  6. Keep taking slow deep breaths while breathing out through your Flutter valve for about 5 minutes. Stop and huff cough 3 times. To do a huff cough, take a deep breath and hold it for 1-3 seconds. Then, force the air out of your lungs and say the word “huff” at the same time. Keep breathing out through the Flutter for another 5 minutes and repeat huff coughs.

  7. Repeat breathing through the Flutter valve and huff coughing for 20 minutes or until your cough no longer produces sputum.

  8. NOTE: It is very important to pace yourself as you breathe out on the Flutter valve. Pause for a few seconds between breaths. If you feel dizzy or get a headache while using the Flutter, you may be breathing too fast. If you have these symptoms, stop using the Flutter for a few minutes and breathe normally. When you begin to use the Flutter again, take more time between flutter breaths. 

  9. Your doctor has ordered the therapy ______ to ______ times per day.

  10. After each session, take the Flutter apart and place all the parts in a clean bowl lined with paper towels to dry.

Cleaning the Flutter

The Flutter should be cleaned twice weekly or more often if it is visibly soiled. One of two methods can be used to clean your Flutter.

  1. Remove the mouthpiece from the Flutter. 

  2. Place all the pieces to the Flutter on the top shelf or silverware rack of the dishwasher and wash with your normal dishwasher soap. 

If You Do Not Own a Dishwasher

  1. Wash all four parts of the Flutter in warm soapy dishwater for five minutes.

  2. Rinse all the parts and then place them in a bowl with enough rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to cover the Flutter. Soak the Flutter device in the alcohol for five minutes. 

  3. Remove the Flutter from the alcohol and rinse with sterile water. Do not use water from the faucet, bottled, or distilled water. You can make water sterile by boiling it for five minutes. Use this water once and then throw it out. 

  4. Place the Flutter in a clean bowl lined with paper towels to dry.

Return Clinic Appointments

Please bring in your Flutter so your therapist can review your technique.


If you would like to do this technique while in the hospital, you need to bring in your own Flutter from home.


If you have questions or need more supplies, contact your local DME supplier or UW Health Care Direct  (608) 203-2273.