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Using an incentive spirometer

Lung complications - incentive spirometer; Pneumonia - incentive spirometer

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Description

Your health care provider may recommend that you use an incentive spirometer after surgery or when you have a lung illness, such as pneumonia. The spirometer is a device used to help you keep your lungs healthy. Using the incentive spirometer teaches you how to take slow deep breaths.

How to Use an Incentive Spirometer

Many people feel weak and sore after surgery and taking big breaths can be uncomfortable. A device called an incentive spirometer can help you take deep breaths correctly.

By using the incentive spirometer every 1 to 2 hours, or as instructed by your provider, you can take an active role in your recovery and keep your lungs healthy.

To use the spirometer:

A piece in the incentive spirometer will rise as you breathe in.

A smaller piece in the spirometer looks like a ball or disk.

Hold your breath for 3 to 5 seconds. Then slowly exhale.

Take 10 to 15 breaths with your spirometer every 1 to 2 hours, or as often as instructed by your provider.

Other Tips

These tips may be helpful:

References

do Nascimento Junior P, Modolo NS, Andrade S, Guimaraes MM, Braz LG, El Dib R. Incentive spirometry for prevention of postoperative pulmonary complications in upper abdominal surgery. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(2):CD006058. PMID: 24510642 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24510642/.

Yepuri N, Pruekprasert N, Cooney RN. Surgical complications. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 12.

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Review Date: 10/23/2021  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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