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Post-Op Incentive Spirometry Not Beneficial After Bariatric Surgery

No effect on postoperative hypoxemia, arterial oxygen saturation level, or pulmonary complications


WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing bariatric surgery, postoperative incentive spirometry (IS) does not affect postoperative hypoxemia, arterial oxygen saturation, or postoperative pulmonary complications, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in JAMA Surgery.

Haddon Pantel, M.D., from the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., and colleagues conducted a randomized noninferiority trial involving 224 patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Patients were randomized to postoperative IS (control group; IS used 10 times every hour while awake) or clinical observation (test group).

The researchers observed no significant between-group differences in the frequency of postoperative hypoxemia at six, 12, or 24 postoperative hours (11.9 versus 10.4 percent [P= 0.72]; 5.4 versus 8.2 percent [P = 0.40], and 3.7 versus 4.6 percent [P = 0.73], respectively). The mean arterial oxygen saturation level did not differ significantly between the control and test groups at six, 12, or 24 postoperative hours (94.9 versus 94.9 percent [P = 0.99]; 95.4 versus 95.1 percent [P = 0.40]; and 95.7 versus 95.6 percent [P = 0.69], respectively). There was no significant difference observed between the groups in 30-day postoperative pulmonary complications (7.1 versus 3.6 percent [P = 0.24]).

"Based on these findings, the routine use of IS is not recommended after bariatric surgery in its current implementation," the authors write.

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