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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1979 Aug;23(4):312-9.

Can postoperative pulmonary conditions be improved by treatment with the Bartlett-Edwards incentive spirometer after upper abdominal surgery?


During the immediate postoperative course after upper abdominal surgery, pulmonary complications often occur, caused, inter alia, by reduced regional ventilation and by atelectases as a result of: (1) narrowing of the small peripheral bronchi, and (2) impaired respiratory function. Based on these pathophysiological mechanisms, an instrument (Bartlett-Edwards Incentive Spirometer) has been devised, which aims at giving the patient an opportunity of sustained maximal inspiration under standardized and controlled conditions. The use of this instrument has been followed by reports of a considerable reduction in postoperative pulmonary complications. In a controlled clinical investigation of the pre- and postoperative condition of the lungs, we were unable to show any beneficial effect of the instrument. In general, we have a low frequency of severe postoperative pulmonary complications, as compared with the results reported in the literature. We ascribe this to our very effective pre- and postoperative respiratory therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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