Incentive Spirometer

What is an incentive spirometer?

Once you are back in your room after surgery, you will be given an incentive spirometer. If you do not see one, make sure to ask for it. An incentive spirometer is a plastic device that measures how deeply you can breathe in or inhale. It helps you take slow, deep breaths to expand and fill your lungs with air. It assists in getting rid of the anesthesia gas and helps to prevent lung problems, such as pneumonia.

Why do I need to use an incentive spirometer?

An incentive spirometer should always be used after surgery. People who are at an increased risk of airway or breathing problems may also use one. This includes people who smoke or have lung disease. This may also include people who are not active or cannot move well.

How do I use an incentive spirometer?

Sit up as straight as possible. Do not bend your head forward or backward. Hold the incentive spirometer in an upright position. Place the target pointer to the level that you need to reach.

Exhale (breathe out) normally and then do the following:

  • Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips tightly around it. Do not block the mouthpiece with your tongue.
  •  Inhale slowly and deeply through the mouthpiece to raise the indicator. Try to make the indicator rise up to the level of the goal marker.
  • When you cannot inhale any longer, remove the mouthpiece and hold your breath for at least 3 seconds.
  •  Exhale normally.

Repeat these steps 10 to 12 times every hour when you are awake, or as often as directed. Clean the mouthpiece with soap and water after each use. Keep track of how high you can move the ball or piston inside. This will help healthcare providers see if your lung function improves.

Health Disclaimer: This website provides information about health and related subjects. The information provided on this site, or in any linked materials, is for informational purposes only and is not a substitue for receiving direct professional medical expertise and / or treatment. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. 

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