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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1984 Jul;130(1):12-5.

A controlled trial of intermittent positive pressure breathing, incentive spirometry, and deep breathing exercises in preventing pulmonary complications after abdominal surgery.


Controversy exists regarding the routine use of aids to lung expansion in the prevention of pulmonary complications after abdominal surgery. We prospectively randomized 172 patients into 1 of 4 groups: the control group (44 patients) received no respiratory treatment, the IPPB group (45 patients) received intermittent positive pressure breathing therapy for 15 min 4 times daily, the IS group (42 patients) was treated with incentive spirometry 4 times daily, and the DBE group (41 patients) carried out deep breathing exercises under supervision for 15 min 4 times daily. Roentgenographic changes, observed 24 h after surgery, were comparable in the 4 groups (20.5 to 36.6%). Pulmonary complications were defined as the development of 3 or more of 6 new findings: cough, phlegm, dyspnea, chest pain, temperature greater than 38 degrees C, pulse rate more than 100 beats/min. The frequency of development of pulmonary complications was 48% in the control group, 22% in the IPPB group (p less than 0.05), 21% in the IS group (p less than 0.05), and 22% in the DBE group (p less than 0.05). Side effects of respiratory treatment were observed only in the IPPB group (18%; p less than 0.05). Hospital stay in patients undergoing upper abdominal surgery was significantly shorter in the IS group (mean +/- SD, 8.6 +/- 3 days) than in the control group (13 +/- 5 days). This difference was not observed for the other 2 treatment groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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