Patients with rib fractures: use of incentive spirometry volumes to guide care

J Trauma Nurs. 2012 Apr-Jun;19(2):89-91; quiz 92-3. doi: 10.1097/JTN.0b013e31825629ee.


Rib fractures pose significant risk to trauma patients. Effective pain control and the ability to take deep breaths are crucial for optimal recovery, and these are key elements in current clinical guidelines. These guidelines use incentive spirometry volumes along with other assessment values to guide patient care. However, despite current guidelines, nurses do not routinely document inspired respiratory volumes. This article provides trauma nurses with the rationale for documenting and tracking incentive spirometry volumes to improve outcomes for patients with rib fractures. This promotes early detection of respiratory decline and early interventions to improve pain control and pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods
  • Respiratory Therapy / nursing*
  • Rib Fractures / nursing*
  • Rib Fractures / physiopathology
  • Rib Fractures / therapy*
  • Spirometry / methods*
  • Spirometry / nursing*