Dr. Pavan Yadav, Lead Consultant : Incentive Spirometer for lung health maintenance


An incentive spirometer is a medical device used to help patients improve the functioning of their lungs. It’s particularly useful in situations where lung capacity and function may be impaired, such as after surgery or during prolonged bed rest. The device consists of a breathing tube, an air chamber, and sometimes, a visual indicator to provide feedback and encouragement to the user.

Whom is it Recommended For?

Incentive spirometry is often recommended for patients who have recently undergone surgeries, especially abdominal or chest surgeries, to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications. It’s also beneficial for patients with lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, or asthma, as it aids in keeping the lungs active and free from fluid accumulation.

How Does an Incentive Spirometer Work?

The device operates on a simple principle: it encourages the patient to take slow, deep breaths. By inhaling through the device, the patient lifts a piston or ball inside the chamber. This action helps the user gauge their inhalation efforts and encourages them to inhale deeply and slowly, thereby expanding the lungs and improving the respiratory muscles.

Does it Help Keep Your Lungs Healthy?

Yes, regular use of an incentive spirometer can have several benefits for lung health. It aids in clearing any accumulation of secretions in the lungs, improves pulmonary function, reduces the risk of atelectasis (collapse of part or all of a lung), and enhances oxygenation. For postoperative patients, it’s a vital tool in preventing lung infections like pneumonia.

Are There Any Cons to Using an Incentive Spirometer?

Generally, incentive spirometry is considered safe. However, incorrect use can lead to problems such as hyperventilation, dizziness, or shortness of breath. It’s crucial that the device is used as directed by a healthcare professional. Patients with certain conditions like pneumothorax (collapsed lung) should not use the device unless advised by a doctor.

Proper Way to Use an Incentive Spirometer :

Sit or Stand Upright: Proper posture is crucial for effective lung expansion.

Breathe Out Normally: Before using the device, exhale normally.

Seal Your Lips Around the Mouthpiece: Ensure a tight seal to prevent air leakage.

Inhale Slowly and Deeply: Inhale through the mouthpiece, raising the piston or ball in the chamber.

Hold Your Breath: After a deep inhalation, hold your breath for about 5 seconds, or as instructed, to allow the lungs to fully expand.

Exhale Slowly: Remove the mouthpiece and exhale normally.

Repeat: Perform the exercises as prescribed, Incentive spirometry, while seemingly straightforward, plays a significant role in respiratory care, especially in recovery and rehabilitation settings. It empowers patients to actively participate in their healing and lung health maintenance.