A typical incentive spirometer - the inhalation nozzle is toward the camera, the curved plastic on the left is a handle, the plunger is in the middle (along with an adjustable mark to indicate a goal) and on the right side is an indicator showing whether the patient is inhaling too rapidly
An incentive spirometer is a medical device used to help patients improve the functioning of their lungs. It is a simplified spirometer provided to patients who have had any surgery that might jeopardize respiratory function, particularly surgery to the lungs, but also commonly to patients recovering from cardiac or other surgery involving extended time under anesthesia and prolonged in-bed recovery. The incentive spirometer also is issued to patients recovering from pneumonia or rib damage to help minimize the chance of fluid build-up in the lungs. It may be used as well by wind instrument players who want to improve their air flow.
Using the mouth piece, the patient breathes in from the device as slowly and as deeply as possible, then holds that breath in for 2–6 seconds. This provides back pressure that pops open alveoli. It has the same effect as that which occurs during yawning. An indicator driven by the patient's breathing provides a gauge of how well the patient's lungs (or lung if singular) are functioning, by indicating sustained inhalation vacuum.
Generally, patients are encouraged to do many repetitions a day while measuring progress by way of advancing the movable gauge along the central column of the device as they improve.
- Spirometer, a device for measuring lung capacity
- "How to use an incentive spirometer". The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
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