Postthoracotomy respiratory muscle mechanics during incentive spirometry using respiratory inductance plethysmography

Chest. 1992 Feb;101(2):432-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.101.2.432.


We undertook this study to characterize the postthoracotomy compartmental displacement and respiratory mechanical changes occurring during and after the performance of the incentive spirometry maneuver. We also evaluated the effect of recumbency angle on compartmental recruitment. Sixteen patients were randomized to perform incentive spirometry either at 30 degrees or 60 degrees recumbency angle. They were studied using respiratory inductance plethysmography to measure tidal volume, respiratory frequency, inspiratory time, rib cage motion/tidal volume ratio, inspiratory duty cycle, and inspiratory flow. Patients were studied before surgery and on postoperative days 1 and 3. Statistical analysis was accomplished using multiple measures ANOVA with post-hoc Student's t-tests when appropriate. Preoperative incentive spirometry augmented VT by increasing both VT/TI and TI. Postoperatively, the incentive recruitment of VT was reduced, a result of a decrease in TI and TI/TTOT; VT/TI was unchanged. There was postoperative decrease of AB and AB/VT during incentive spirometry, greatest in the 60 degrees group. Our results characterize the nature of the respiratory recruitment afforded by incentive spirometry, before and after thoracotomy. We also found evidence of postthoracotomy diaphragmatic derecruitment during incentive spirometry exacerbated by a high recumbency angle.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Postoperative Period
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Spirometry*
  • Thoracotomy*