Respiratory Complications

Nurse Helps Patient with Oxygen Mask

Getting Back to Where You Were

It’s vital for patients to get back to their preoperative respiratory levels before they are discharged from the hospital. Breathing freely after surgery is a process that requires some respiratory therapy and active coughing to clear the lungs. These are important to help purge the lungs of fluid and phlegm, preventing potential complications like atelectasis and pneumonia.

The Most Common Complication: Pulmonary Collapse

The most common respiratory complication is a pulmonary collapse. Before patients have surgery and when their lungs are healthy, their bodies will take deeper breaths about five to ten times per hour that apply pressure to the many tiny air sacs in the lungs, keeping them full and working properly. However, when patients go under anesthesia, take certain narcotic drugs such as morphine, and are on a ventilator, these air sacs are not fully inflated as they are during normal breathing. This can cause the sacs to collapse and fluid to build up in the lungs.

The Solution: Breathing Exercises and Heart Hugger

With fluid buildup in the lungs, it’s important to expel that fluid to prevent further complications. Deep breathing exercises that work to fully inflate the lungs helps prevent these additional complications. For patients recovering from thoracic surgery, these deep breathing exercises and coughing can be painful. That’s where Heart Hugger comes in. Heart Hugger provides patients with pain relief that makes it easier for them to participate in their respiratory exercises. Using Heart Hugger can help increase lung volume and get them back to preoperative levels quicker.

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