Observational practice of incentive spirometry in stroke patients

Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Jan-Feb;21(1):24-29. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2016.12.002. Epub 2017 Jan 13.


Background: Stroke may lead to several health problems, but positive effects can be promoted by learning to perform physical therapy techniques correctly.

Objective: To compare two different types of observational practice (video instructions and demonstration by a physical therapist) during the use of incentive spirometry (IS).

Method: A total of 20 patients with diagnosis of stroke and 20 healthy individuals (56±9.7 years) were allocated into two groups: one with observational practice with video instructions for the use of IS and the other with observational practice with demonstration by a physical therapist. Ten attempts for the correct use of IS were carried out and the number of errors and the magnitude of response were evaluated. The statistic used to compare the results was the three-way ANOVA test.

Results: The stroke subjects showed less precision when compared to the healthy individuals (mean difference 1.80±0.38) 95%CI [1.02-2.52], p<0.0001. When the type of practice was analyzed, the stroke subjects showed more errors with the video instructions (mean difference 1.5±0.5, 95%CI [0.43-2.56] (p=0.08)) and therapist demonstration (mean difference 2.40±0.52, 95%CI [1.29-3.50] (p=0.00)) when compared to the healthy individuals.

Conclusion: The stroke subjects had a worse performance in learning the use of volume-oriented incentive spirometry when compared to healthy individuals; however, there was no difference between the types of observational practice, suggesting that both may be used to encourage the use of learning IS in patients with stroke.

Keywords: Breathing exercises; Cerebrovascular accident; Hemiparesis; Learning; Rehabilitation; Stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods*
  • Spirometry / methods*
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology