An incentive spirometer helps expand your lungs as far as they can when you take a deep breath. It is mainly used by people after surgery. It helps improve how the lungs work and lowers the risk of pneumonia because more air gets into more spaces in your lungs.
Incentive spirometer—This device has a tube to breathe into. An indicator shows how much air you inhaled into your lungs.
Q. How often do I have to use the incentive spirometer?
A. Use the device until you are breathing more normally all of the time. Situations vary, but many doctors advise using the spirometer once (a cycle of 10 breaths) hourly for the first few days after surgery.
Q. I get lightheaded when I use the spirometer without resting a little between deep breaths. Why is this?
A. You are breathing too deep and too fast. Pace yourself and breathe normally for a few breaths between using the spirometer.
Call your doctor if you have:
American College of Chest Physicians
American Lung Association
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/spirometry. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd-spirometry. Updated December 28, 2016. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Patient education: Incentive spirometry at the bedside. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated June 8, 2018. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Pulmonary function tests. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900274/Pulmonary-function-tests. Updated March 20, 2019. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Spirometry. American Lung Association website. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/spirometry.html. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN Last Updated: 4/30/2019