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Chang Gung Med J. 2000 Feb;23(2):73-9.

The effect of incentive spirometry on chest expansion and breathing work in patients with chronic obstructive airway diseases: comparison of two methods.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.



Chronic obstructive airway diseases (COAD), characterized by mucus hypersecretion, lead to exercise intolerance. Incentive spirometry has been used to prevent postoperative pulmonary atelectasis.


To compare the efficacy of two incentive spirometers, Coach (volume-oriented) and Triflo (flow-oriented), in the work of breathing in COAD patients, 22 patients were randomized in this study: 12 patients (Triflo-II group) initially used Triflo-II for 10 minutes and then Coach for the same period. In contrast, the Coach group, including 10 patients, started with Coach followed by Triflo-II. After receiving incentive spirometry, lung expansion and work of breathing were assessed.


Patients in the Coach group significantly increased chest wall expansion (p = 0.041), as compared with patients using Triflo-II. Similarly, there was also a significantly increased abdominal wall expansion in the Coach group (p = 0.0056), compared with that in the Triflo-II group. The need of accessory muscle assistance for breathing in the Coach group was significantly less than in the Triflo-II group (p = 0.047). It was easier for patients in the Coach group to start a breath (p = 0.0058) than for those in the Triflo-II group. For the entire group, 17 patients (77.3%) preferred Coach to assist their breathing, and only 4 patients (18.2%) favored Triflo-II.


COAD patients achieved a larger expansion of the chest and abdomen with a Coach device. Our data provide a good rationale for an outcome study on the use of incentive spirometer in COAD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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