It is well known that anesthesia and certain surgeries predispose patients to changes in respiratory function, pulmonary volumes, and gas exchange. Cardiac surgery, which is considered a major surgery, may trigger respiratory complications in the postoperative period. These complications have various causes, such as heart and lung functions in the pre-operative, the use of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), and the level of sedation. In these extensive thoracic procedures, respiratory dysfunction may be significant, persisting in the postoperative period. Physiotherapy is offered to patients in the ICU as part of a multidisciplinary treatment plan. It is a time-consuming treatment, and is possible at various times during the patient's stay in the ICU. However, it is particularly valuable in postoperative recovery in order to avoid respiratory and motor complications. Thus, a literature review was performed, aiming to arrange current and relevant information on available resources for respiratory monitoring, as well as its importance in evaluating and treating lung function impairment, as this complication is a frequent cause of death in surgical patients.