Incentive Spirometer Benfits for Heart Surgery Patients
Following open heart surgery, patients are typically required to use an incentive spirometer. As I personally remember, the initial use of an incentive spirometer will occur in the intensive care unit after open heart surgery.
There are different forms of incentive spirometers but the image below is a representative sample of an incentive spirometer device. There are several benefits for the patient's lungs after open heart surger - including the prevention of pneumonia and collapse of alveoli.
What Is An Incentive Spirometer?
As shown above, the incentive spirometer is a medical apparatus used for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs. The spirometer records the amount of air and the rate of air that is breathed in and out of the lungs over a specified time
What Are The Benefits Of Incentive Spirometer Use After Open Heart Surgery?
After any surgery involving general anesthesia, good care of the lungs is important in order to avoid pneumonia and other residue fluid in the lungs.
Use of an incentive spirometer device is important because most heart surgeries require the use of a heart-lung machine. As a result, the heart is stopped and cooled. During this procedure, the lungs are deflated which can create mucous within the lungs.
Following surgery, patients are asked to use an incentive spirometer and encouraged to take deep breaths and cough (if necessary). This helps remove any extra mucous or fluid in the lungs. So you know, if the airsacs stay closed and mucous builds up, pneumonia can develop.
It can be a bit painful to use an incentive spirometer at first. However, with good breathing, patients begin their road to recovery quickly.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Following my aortic valve replacement, I had a good amount of fluid in my lungs. This produced a painful cramp when I took deep breaths. After two days of incentive spirometer use (ten minutes each hour), the fluid in my lungs evaporated and the pain went away.
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.