QualiBreath FAQ's




Generally about QualiBreath:

  1. What is QualiBreath?
    QualIBreath is dual-functional external sternum and thorax support for sternotomy patients which consists of an adjustable, chest circumferential, elastic band with integrated bar handles and adjustable shoulder straps. [click to continue...]

  2. What does dual-functional mean?
    QualiBreath functions in two ways. 1. it gives a constant, lateral support on the sternum by the firm, circumferential thorax band, and 2. the integrated handles can be grasped by the patient to obtain additional circumferential tension for cough and sneeze support. [click to continue...]

  3. Who should use QualiBreath?
    QualiBreath is strongly recommended for all patients at high risk for postoperative complications e.g. obesity, diabetes, preoperative renal failure, previous myocardial infarction, osteoporosis, age, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), [click to continue...]

  4. Is QualiBreath only for sternotomy patients?
    No, it is for all patients who experience breathing discomfort and pain, e.g. thoracotomy and chest trauma patients. Patients with broken ribs have greatly benefitted from using QualiBreath ( see testimonies here ) [click to continue...] 

  5. Can women use QualiBreath?
    Yes, QualiBreath is for male and for female patients with small bra cup sizes. Women who wear a bra with a cup size C or higher should wear a soft, supportive bra with integrated sternum support such as the QualiBra Advanced. QualiBra Advanced prevents any pulling on the sternal wound from the weight of the breast tissue [click to continue...]

  6. Has QualiBreath been clinically proven?
    Yes. QualiBreath is the only external chest support that has been evaluated for a broad range of important criteria for postoperative recovery. It was shown to significantly decrease pain and sternal separation in patients with chronic instability, and it had a positive effect on patient function, comfort, ease of breathing, and ease of exercise activities. [click to continue...]

What QualiBreath does for the patient:

  1. What can QualiBreath do?
    It gives a constant lateral support on the sternum from the external side to complement the internal sternal closure, and it helps patients to manage breathing and pain [click to continue...]

  2. Is lateral support on the sternum necessary?
    Yes. The two sternum halves are held together by wires or plates after a sternotomy, which are the only force to withstand a concurrent strain of the sternum in lateral direction. [click to continue...]

  3. Can QualiBreath give a firm support when it is elastic?
    Yes. The specially selected elastic material is unidirectional and has a precisely monitored elasticity of 100% (+-10%). This results in a firm, yet comfortable support all around the thorax. [click to continue...]

  4. Does QualiBreath restrict breathing?
    No. QualiBreath is designed with a calculated height of material with the purpose not to cover the lower lung lobes or the upper abdominal area. The result is that... [click to continue...]

  5. Can QualiBreath relieve pain?
    Yes. The firm, unidirectional, elastic support to the ribs and respiratory muscles during inspiration relieves pain... [click to continue...]

  6. How can QualiBreath assist during coughing or sneezing?
    Thanks to the bar handles which are totally integrated within the material, the patient can easily insert the thumbs under each of the bars and bring them together. This action will reinforce the circumferential thorax support, [click to continue...]

  7. Does QualiBreath have any psychological effect?
    Yes. The constant support on the thorax gives patients a feeling of being held firmly together thus reducing anxiety about potential harm to the sternal wound from coughing, sneezing or breathing exercises. QualiBreath is a constant reminder for patients to... [click to continue...]

  8. Why is it important to use QualiBreath immediately after surgery?
    The external complementary reinforcement of the internal sternal closure helps to protect the sternum right from the start. Data on pain experience after sternotomy procedures have shown that patients have less pain... [click to continue...]

How to measure and choose the correct size:

  1. How many sizes are available of QualiBreath?
    Seven adult sizes: XS (Extra Small), S (Small), M (Medium), L (Large), XL (Extra Large), XXL and XXXL.
 Three pediatric sizes: 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8-10 years. The Extra Small adult size will fit 10-12 years children.
    Two infant sizes: Circumference of 27-32 cm and 32-38 cm.

  2. Why is QualiBreath available in so many sizes?
    This is to ensure the best possible fit to the patient’s thorax for an optimal, constant breathing support. Each size, when correctly chosen, ensures that the shoulder straps and the bar handles are positioned centrally for ultimate comfort. This is not possible with a “one-size-fits-all” elastic adjustable band.

  3. Is the height of QualiBreath the same for all sizes?
    All adult sizes have a material width of 16 cm, the pediatric sizes 10 cm, and the Infant of just 3 cm.

  4. How is it possible to know which QualiBreath size to choose?
    The patient’s chest must be measured and the corresponding QualiBreath size located on the sizing guide included on all brochures, posters and here.

  5. Where should the patient's thorax be measured?
    Place the measure tape directly under the armpits and above the breasts - both on men, women and children to get the correct measurement.

  6. Is there a way to choose the correct size if there is no measure tape at hand?
    Yes, a rough way is to use one’s hands to measure the patient’s thorax from one armpit to the other above the breasts. An outspread hand-width from thumb to little-finger is roughly 20 cm or 8 inches e.g. if the measure is found to be 2.5 hand-widths, the circumference would be 5 hand- widths, or 100 cm (40 inches). The correct QualiBreath size can then be identified on the sizing chart. Another rough method is to use the patient’s normal clothing size as a guide, e.g. Small, Medium etc. In this case choose a QualiBreath one size smaller, e.g. if clothing size is Large - choose a Medium sized QualiBreath.

  7. How much should QualiBreath be tightened?
    Since QualiBreath is ideally placed on the patient immediately after surgery, often before he/she is fully awake after the anaesthesia, we recommend to start with a lighter closure at the first Velcro attachment. When the patient is awake and cooperative, tighten the QualiBreath more towards the most inner Velcro position to achieve a tight support.

How to use QualiBreath:

  1. When should QualiBreath be applied?
    QualiBreath should be applied in the operating room immediately after surgery by placing it on the bed before the patient is transferred. Using this practice is undemanding for staff and less challenging for the patient.

  2. How should QualiBreath be used, under or over the patient's clothes?
    QualiBreath is designed to be used directly on the patients’ skin. It can be used over the clothes, however, care should be taken that there are no folds between QUALIBREATH and the clothing which could irritate the patients’ skin.

  3. What is the correct position of QualiBreath?
    QualiBreath must be positioned as high as possible at the front of the thorax. It should be placed as high as possible at the back side without causing irritation underneath the armpits. The shoulder straps can be adjusted for achieving the correct position.

  4. Why is there no underarm shaping on QualiBreath?
    Cutting out an area in the QualiBreath band under the armpits would eliminate the important circumferential tension efficiency and the lateral support of the sternum corresponding to the depth of a underarm shaping.

  5. What to do if patients feel QualiBreath bothers them under the arms?
    This may happen specially when patients are bedridden more than expected which can cause QUALIBREATH to be pushed up at the back side. If the shoulder straps are crossed at the back side, uncross and readjust them for a lower position of QualiBreath at the back side. Eventually use the Axilla perspiration pads accessory to protect the armpits.

  6. Can the patient position the QualiBreath on their own?
    Not immediately after surgery. QualiBreath should initially be applied by a health care professional in the OR or in the ICU. When patients are mobile and have learnt the correct arm movements for protection of the sternum, they can easily position QualiBreath without help.

  7. How does the QualiBreath handles work?
    The handles should be used by both hands while the upper arms are kept close to the chest. The patient places each thumb under the material fold that contains the bar handle at both sides of the sternum. He/she then places the other fingers behind the bar handle on the opposite side and simply closes both hands as a fist. This action will bring the two bar handles together in parallel, thereby stretching the elastic band at its full height, add extra circumferential support to the thorax and increase the lateral reinforcement on the sternum.

  8. When should patients use the QualiBreath handles?
    The handles should be grasped for additional reinforcement during coughing and sneezing. It is also very much appreciated during deep breathing exercises or other painful situations. The QualiBreath is recommended to be firmly tightened on the upper part of the thorax, and there is normally no need for a lot of extra force.

  9. Is the distance between the QualiBreath handles the same on all sizes?
    No, the distance between the handles becomes proportionally larger, the larger the size of the QualiBreath.

  10. How can drainage tubes be accommodated with QualiBreath?
    Normally the drainage tubes will exit below the lower elastic margin. Depending on a patient’s build and figure, the drains may exit without difficulties underneath the elastic material

  11.  Can QualiBreath be used in bed?
    Yes, it is designed to be used directly on patients’ skin under their clothes, in or out of bed.

  12. Should QualiBreath be used during the day or at night only?
    QualiBreath should be used both day and night until the sternum bone has healed, which means at least 8 weeks.

  13. How is QualiBreath closed?
    QualiBreath has an adjustable Velcro closure at the front left side.
 Each QualiBreath size is adjustable over a width of 15 cm for an optimal fitting and breathing support for the patient.

  14. Is QualiBreath available for left-handed patients?
    Yes. Just specify RIGHT- side closure on the order. If nothing is specified, QualiBreath is always supplied with the standard left-side closure.

  15. Is the QualiBreath a one-size fits all?
    No, a correct size must be chosen. The better the fit, the more efficient and higher comfort for the patient.

  16. Is QualiBreath warm to use for the patient?
    No. The special chosen material is ventilated and for every horizontal line of 7 mm material there are 3 mm line of open space for the skin to “breathe”.

  17. Some patients perspire excessively. Does QualiBreath increase perspiration? 
    No. Normally not since the QualiBreath material is ventilated. Patients with excessive perspiration under the armpits may want to use the QualiBreath accessory, Axilla perspiration pads which can easily be exchanged as needed.

  18. Can the QualiBreath cause irritation to the skin?
    Most unlikely. All seams are on the outside of the material facing away from the patient’s skin including the manufacturer’s labels, and the bar handles are totally integrated inside the material. Furthermore there are no buckles or other rigid items to cause pressure points on the skin. 

  19. Can the QualiBreath elastic material cause any allergic reaction?
    Most unlikely. The QualiBreath material is free of natural rubber latex  (NO NRL) also called Latex-free.

  20. What can be done if QualiBreath is not high enough on the patient's thorax at the front?
    Patients have a different build. Try to cross the shoulder straps at the back and fasten them normally at the front. This will pull the QualiBreath higher both at the back and front.

  21. What can be done if QualiBreath is closed at the innermost Velcro but does not give enough support to the patient?
    In this case a too large QualiBreath size has been chosen - a solution can be to attach the Velcro closure directly on the blue material for a tighter fit while ensuring the bar handles still have the sternum centrally between them. If the shoulder straps thereby get into a too distorted position to cause discomfort, we recommend to choose a new, correct size.

  22. Is QualiBreath washable?
    Yes. For longevity of the elastic material we recommend to wash it at 30°C without tumble drying. It is possible to wash QualiBreath at 60°C, but should not be done more than 3 times, since the elasticity will loose some strength at each wash – as with any other elastic material.

  23. Should QualiBreath only be used during hospitalisation?
    No. QualiBreath is a “one-per-patient” product and should follow the patient who needs to use it for 8 weeks or more at home.

  24. How can the bar handles be used when QualiBreath is worn underneath the clothes?
    The handles are easily grasped through most materials used for shirts, T-shirts or blouses. It is usually not necessary to wear an open shirt – QualiBreath can be completely hidden and used discreetly under the patient’s clothes.

  25. For how long time should patients use QualiBreath?
    They should use it till the sternum bone has properly healed, which means up to 8 weeks. They can use it for longer if they feel it helps them manage their breathing and any pain and that it supports their movements.

QualiBreath and other devices:

  1. What are the advantages of QualiBreath over other chest support products?
    QualiBreath is the only dual-functional external chest support. It gives the patient’s sternum support all the time 24/7, and the integrated bar handles are a self-help tool for managing the situations with extra pain a patient may experience during coughing, sneezing, deep breathing exercises, or simply when moving around. No other chest support does both.

  2. What are the differences between QualiBreath and the other chest supports?
    Other chest supports have only one function: they are either a continuous chest support, or they are a cough support. No other devices combines both functions in one device.
    QualiBreath combines all advantages in one product: it gives continuous sternum and breathing support and it enables patients to get extra tight support when needed.

  3. Is using a pillow an alternative to QualiBreath?
    No. A pillow can not constantly support the sternum. Traditionally patients have often been advised to press a pillow against the sternum when coughing or sneezing. However, pressing a pillow or any other device directly inward on a fresh sternum wound and bone can do more harm than good, and may be a source of infection since pillows often fall on the floor or get in contact with other potential infection sources.
    Read more about the pillow here.