Incentive spirometry does not enhance recovery after thoracic surgery

Respiratory Rehabilitation and Respiratory Division, University Hospitals, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Belgium.
Critical Care Medicine (Impact Factor: 6.15). 04/2000; 28(3):679-83. DOI: 10.1097/00003246-200003000-00013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the additional effect of incentive spirometry to chest physiotherapy to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications after thoracic surgery for lung and esophageal resections.
Randomized controlled trial.
University hospital, intensive care unit, and surgical department.
Sixty-seven patients (age, 59 +/- 13 yrs; forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, 93% +/- 22% predicted) undergoing elective thoracic surgery for lung (n = 40) or esophagus (n = 27) resection.
Physiotherapy (breathing exercises, huffing, and coughing) (PT) plus incentive spirometry (IS) was compared with PT alone.
Lung function, body temperature, chest radiograph, white blood cell count, and number of hospital and intensive care unit days were all measured. Pulmonary function was significantly reduced after surgery (55% of the initial value) and improved significantly in the postoperative period in both groups. However, no differences were observed in the recovery of pulmonary function between the groups. The overall score of the chest radiograph, based on the presence of atelectasis, was similar in both treatment groups. Eight patients (12%) (three patients with lobectomy and five with esophagus resection) developed a pulmonary complication (abnormal chest radiograph, elevated body temperature and white blood cell count), four in each treatment group. Adding IS to regular PT did not reduce hospital or intensive care unit stay.
Pulmonary complications after lung and esophagus surgery were relatively low. The addition of IS to PT did not further reduce pulmonary complications or hospital stay. Although we cannot rule out beneficial effects in a subgroup of high-risk patients, routine use of IS after thoracic surgery seems to be ineffective.

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    • "The assessment of criteria for the BBS and GS was performed as described in the papers by Brooks-Brunn [8] and Gosselink et al [9]. Further clarification regarding the GS was needed in order to confirm how microbiology results contribute to the score as it was unclear as described in the paper by Gosselink et al [9]; a positive sputum microbiology report constituted a positive second criteria, even if white cell count (WCC) is negative (personal communication with author), see Table 1. Detailed information/instruction regarding the application of the MGS [11] was used to facilitate its application, and where necessary advice was sought (personal communication with author). "
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    Physiotherapy 12/2011; 97(4):278-83. DOI:10.1016/ · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    • "It is therefore difficult to determine exactly what has been compared. Gosselink et al. [23] performed a randomised controlled trial on subjects following lung (n = 40) and oesophageal (n = 27) surgery; selection was based upon the subject's ability to perform incentive spirometry adequately before surgery. These subjects were randomised to two groups; postoperative physiotherapy comprising deep breathing exercises , huff and cough (n = 35), and volume-orientated incentive spirometry (Voldyne), huff and cough (n = 32). "
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    ABSTRACT: Thoracic surgery may cause reduced respiratory function and pulmonary complications, with associated increased risk of mortality. Postoperative physiotherapy aims to reverse atelectasis and secretion retention, and may include incentive spirometry. To review the evidence for incentive spirometry, examining the physiological basis, equipment and its use following thoracic surgery. MEDLINE was searched from 1950 to January 2008, EMBASE was searched from 1980 to January 2008, and CINAHL was searched from 1982 to January 2008, all using the OVID interface. The search term was: '[incentive]'. The Cochrane Library was searched using the terms 'incentive spirometry' and 'postoperative physiotherapy'. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Resource Centre was also searched, and a hand search was performed to follow-up references from the retrieved studies. Non-scientific papers were excluded, as were papers that did not relate to thoracic surgery or the postoperative treatment of patients with incentive spirometry. Initially, 106 studies were found in MEDLINE, 99 in EMBASE and 42 in CINAHL. Eight references were found in the Cochrane Library and one paper in the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Resource Centre. Four studies and one systematic review investigating the effects of postoperative physiotherapy and incentive spirometry in thoracic surgery patients were selected and reviewed. Physiological evidence suggests that incentive spirometry may be appropriate for lung re-expansion following major thoracic surgery. Based on sparse literature, postoperative physiotherapy regimes with, or without, the use of incentive spirometry appear to be effective following thoracic surgery compared with no physiotherapy input.
    Physiotherapy 07/2009; 95(2):76-82. DOI:10.1016/ · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    • "For lung resection surgery the reported incidence of PPC is around 25% in studies where the primary aim was not one of examining physiotherapy practice (Stephan et al 2000). However two further studies report the incidence of PPC after thoracic surgery to be 7–8%, both of these are European and both primarily examine physiotherapy treatment (Gosselink et al 2000, Varela et al 2006). Unpublished audit data from the United Kingdom and data from New Zealand (Reeve et al 2008), using the same defi nition for PPC (with comparable patient demographics) report between 12 and 18% respectively. "
    Physiotherapy Research International 06/2008; 13(2):69-74. DOI:10.1002/pri.404
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