Incentive spirometry for prevention of postoperative pulmonary complications in upper abdominal surgery.

Guimarães MM, El Dib R, Smith AF, Matos D

The objective of this review was to assess the effects of incentive spirometry compared to no such therapy (or other therapy) on all-cause postoperative pulmonary complications (atelectasis, acute respiratory inadequacy) and mortality in adult patients admitted for upper abdominal surgery. 11 studies with a total of 1754 participants of incentive spirometry in adult patients admitted for any type of upper abdominal surgery, including patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures were included. Many trials were of only moderate methodological quality and did not report on compliance with the prescribed therapy. Data from only 1160 patients could be included in the meta-analysis. Three trials (120 patients) compared the effects of incentive spirometry with no respiratory treatment. Two trials (194 patients) compared incentive spirometry with deep breathing exercises. Two trials (946 patients) compared incentive spirometry with other chest physiotherapy. All showed no evidence of a statistically significant effect of incentive spirometry. There was no evidence that incentive spirometry is effective in the prevention of pulmonary complications.

There was no evidence regarding the effectiveness of the use of incentive spirometry for prevention of postoperative pulmonary complications in upper abdominal surgery.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD006058.

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