Treat aspiration pneumonia like a boss

May 13, 2019

Coupage with flat hands is useless at best (left) while coupage with cupped hands is effective (right).

With a 25 percent death rate, aspiration pneumonia should be taken seriously. Treatment traditionally includes hospitalization, IV fluids and antibiotics (often a cephalosporin combined with enrofloxacin), oxygen therapy, nebulization, and coupage.

Coupage, or chest percussion, helps expell pulmonary and bronchial secretions by stimulating the cough reflex.

Performing coupage

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Five coupage dont’s

1) Don’t use flat hands.
2) Don’t do coupage before nebulization.
3) Don’t clap both sides of the chest
at the same time.
4) Don’t clap too gently.
5) Don’t clap too violently.

Visit[1] to view a video that can illustrate to team members and clients the correct way to perform coupage.

When it is done well, coupage is a simple, cheap, and effective component of the treatment of aspiration pneumonia.

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling surgery practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. Visit his websites at and


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