Objective: Although incentive spirometry (IS) is frequently used to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications, its efficacy in patients with COPD has not been documented. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of IS on pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gases, dyspnoea and health-related quality of life in patients hospitalized for COPD.
Methodology: A total of 27 consecutive patients (mean age, 68.4 +/- 7.9 years; 26 males) admitted for COPD exacerbations were recruited for the study. In total, 15 (IS treatment group) used IS for 2 months, together with medical treatment. The remaining 12 (medical treatment group) were given only medical treatment. Pulmonary function and blood gases were measured. Assessment of dyspnoea by visual analogue scale (VAS) and quality of life using the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were performed at admission and after 2 months of treatment.
Results: The activity, impact and total scores for the SGRQ improved (all P < or = 0.0001), PaCO2 values decreased (P = 0.02), PaO2 and PAO2 values increased (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01, respectively) in the IS treatment group. However, there were no significant differences between the measurements made pretreatment and after 2 months of medical therapy in the medical treatment group, with regards to pulmonary function, blood gases, SGRQ scores and VAS.
Conclusion: The use of IS appears to improve arterial blood gases and health-related quality of life in patients with COPD exacerbations, although it does not alter pulmonary function parameters.