A randomized trial comparing inspiratory training and positive pressure training in immediate lung recovery after minor pleuro-pulmonary surgery

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Background: Two respiratory physiotherapy modalities were compared in a randomized controlled trial on patients undergoing minor pleuro-pulmonary surgery. Methods: Forty-five patients were randomly allocated into positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy (n=23) and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) groups (n=22). Individualized group specific physiotherapeutic guidance was administered preoperatively, and once a day postoperatively. Patients also performed independent exercises and kept a logbook. Pain was assessed on a numerical reference scale (NRS). Volumetric pulmonary function values and walking distance were recorded preoperatively, and on first (POD1) and second postoperative days (POD2). Pre- and postoperative values were compared using two-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Results: Patient characteristics and pleuro-pulmonary interventions were similar between the groups. Thoracotomy was performed in 14/45 and video assisted surgery (VATS) in 31/45 of cases. Preoperative volumetric pulmonary functions were normal or slightly decreased in 29/45, and fell significantly (P<0.001) on the first postoperative day (POD1) and improved but remained significantly lower on the second postoperative day. The recovery of mean FEV1, FIV1 and FIVC values was greater in the IMT than in the PEP group between POD1 and POD2, but without significant difference. The corresponding relative to preoperative values were higher in the IMT group, with a significant difference in FEV1 (P=0.045). Also relative PEF and FIV1 values seemed to be slightly higher in the IMT compared to the PEP group, but not significantly. Average NRS values for pain were lower in the IMT group (P=0.010) but only on POD1. Air leak was noted in 4/45 patients, two in each group, on POD1, and two in PEP groups and one in IMT group on POD2. Mean measured walking distances between groups did not differ. Mean hospital stay was 4 days in the PEP group and 3 days in the IMT group. There was no hospital mortality. Conclusions: Pulmonary function values decreased significantly after minor lung resections, supporting rehabilitative respiratory physiotherapy to avoid postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs). Both PEP and IMT training were well tolerated and equally efficient when comparing spirometry values at three time points. IMT appeared advantageous regarding relative FEV1 recovery and immediate postoperative pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4690-4702
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Inspiratory muscle training (IMT)
  • Minor lung resection
  • Positive expiratory pressure training (PEP training)
  • Pulmonary function
  • Respiratory physiotherapy

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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