Ideally, patients should get an Incentive Spirometer. There are two types of spirometers. One is the Triflow which has 3 balls. Each ball is a different color, with 600, 900, and 1200 mls. We ask the patient to move the 3 balls and keep the level up as long as possible and then rest for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times in 5 minutes, they need to do this 8 times a day. The other type has total volume of 4000 mls, we ask to move or target volume between 3500 to 4000 mls. The patient needs to do exercises for 5 minutes 8 times a day. If using a Peak Flow meter they should get 500 mls each time 8 times a day.
An incentive spirometer, or IS, is a device used to measure how much air can go into your lungs. It is made up of a breathing tube, an air chamber, and an indicator. The breathing tube is connected to the air chamber and has a mouthpiece at the end. The indicator is found inside the device. An IS helps prevent lung problems by exercising the muscles used for breathing. For spirometry, you will need to breathe slowly and deeply. Breathing deeply helps open your airway and fill your lungs with air. The incentive spirometer shows how well your lungs inflate (expand) by measuring how deep your breathing is.
How do I use an incentive spirometer?
Sit up straight and as comfortably as possible. Keep your head and neck centered and not bent forward or backward. Hold the incentive spirometer in an upright position. Place the target pointer to the level that you need to reach or your caregiver has suggested. Exhale (breathe out) normally, and then do the following:
- Place the mouthpiece in your mouth with your lips tightly sealed around it. Do not let your tongue block the mouthpiece.
- Inhale (breathe in) slowly and deeply through the mouthpiece to raise the indicator. Try to make the indicator rise up to the level of the target pointer. This is the goal that you need to reach.
- Note the highest level that the indicator has reached.
- When you cannot inhale any longer, remove the mouthpiece, and hold your breath for at least three seconds.
- Exhale normally.
- Repeat these steps 5 to 10 times every hour when awake, or as often as caregivers tell you to.
- After each session, try to cough out the sputum (mucus) from your lungs. This is done by inhaling deeply and pushing the air out of your lungs with a deep, strong cough