Incentive Spirometer a true friend of patient 

What is Incentive Spirometry?

Incentive Spirometer is a tool for breathing exercise that helps in the expansion of the lungs &  improve your lung capacity.

 it is a vital tool before and after thoracic and abdominal surgery.

Who should do this exercise?

It is not mandatory for all. The incentive spirometer  should be used if :

·       You have undergone chest or abdomen surgery.

·       You are going to have chest or abdomen surgery.

·       You are on bed rest.

 What happens to your lungs when you are given general anesthesia or asked to take bed rest?

The lung tissues are made up of many air sac (alveolar sacs), which are fully expanded during normal breathing. During surgery, when anesthesia is given, it changes the regular pattern of breathing, the absorption of gases and pressures,  which may cause secretions (phlegm/ mucus) to stay in your lungs and collapse the air sacs. This situation is called atelectasis. After surgery as well as during bed rest, it is common for you to take shallow breaths because of pain or limited mobility. Almost everyone who has undergone the surgery has some atelectasis from anesthesia.  Same  happen when one is on bed rest for a long time.

 This may cause difficulty in respiration and increase the hospital stay.

How  Deep Breathing and Coughing prevent or reverse the above situation?

Taking deep breaths  may help in reverse or decrease the chance of developing breathing problems.

Deep breathing

·       Moves air down to the bottom areas of the lungs.

·       Opens air passage and let the mucus out

·       Helps the blood and oxygen supply to your lungs, boosting circulation

·       Lowers the risk of lung complication such as pneumonia and infections.

Coughing helps bring up mucus from deep within the lungs. As you do breathing exercises, you may feel this in the back of your throat to hear a rattling sound when you breathe.

Not only this, incentive spirometry also helps in assessing the status of your respiratory efforts and depth of breathing.

What are the benefits of doing this exercise before surgery?

For your surgery you are anesthetized anesthesia that suppress the respiratory centre and ventilator support is required or respiration. After surgery anesthetist reverses the anesthesia, makes you awake and reduces the ventilator support.

Doing chest exercises before surgery benefits in many ways .if you have done chest exercises adequately before your surgery

·       the chances o reducing the ventilator support are increased.

·        the chances of having  lung complications reduces significantly.

·        recovery after surgery is hastened.

How many types of Incentive Spirometer (breathing machine) are available in the market?

There are many types of incentive spirometer available in the market. Their designs vary from one manufacturer to another. But all spirometers have two main parts : Mouth Piece and Pistons. (see figure)

How to Perform the Spirometry in right way?

 Turn the page and see the images carefully and try to perform as per given instructions. If you have any doubt or difficulty, feel free to ask your Nurse or Doctor.

What are the precaution you should take while using incentive spirometer?


·       Avoid inappropriate technique, excessive/ overexertion may cause hyperventilation that may result in giddiness

·       Less use or poor efforts may make the exercise ineffective.

·       Take your time and spend  5 to 10 minutes in every hour  to complete  10 to 15 cycles.

·       Do not tire or exhaust yourself.


How often should patient spend doing these exercises?


·       After surgery or chest infections there are excessive  secretions in your respiratory passage. To remove them and prevent complications do it 10 to 15 times and repeat it every hour while you are awake.  Initially you  may find these exercises difficult,  but if you keep practicing them, they  become easier as your muscles gain strength.

·       If you  have a chronic respiratory condition and feeling  well, 10 minutes will be long enough to ventilate lungs and clear any phlegm and repeat this 4-5 times a day.


Final Words : This exercise alone may not improve the chest condition. Early mobilization, cough, steam inhalation and Chest physiotherapy are equally important. If you do not notice any no phlegm/ sputum, still remember to cough out.


Do not get disheartened If you are not able to lit the balls of spirometer Keep practicing, slowly you will see the positive result. Do this exercise honestly and ensure your recovery.

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