Avoiding Pulmonary Complications after Major Abdominal Surgery Using Novel Digital Incentive Spirometry Technology

The Opportunity

It is standard post operative care for inpatients to receive an incentive spirometer (IS) — a device used to facilitate deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity and open airways to prevent pulmonary complications, which are the leading cause of postoperative death and increase hospital expenditures in cardiothoracic and general surgery. In designing a prehabilitation program for high-risk surgical patients, this team discovered there is limited data supporting the efficacy of IS in clinical trials.

Our Approach

Dr. Hammill, Dr. Lu, and their team developed a digital Bluetooth-enabled IS device that allowed for the remote monitoring of patient compliance using a smartphone app and an online provider dashboard. They set out to determine the efficacy of preoperative incentive spirometry to improve forced expiratory volume (FEV1) as a surrogate for postoperative pulmonary complications. They also wanted to determine the efficacy of incentive spirometry to improve forced vital capacity (FVC) and blood oxygen saturation in the preoperative setting, as well as FEV1, FVC, and blood oxygen saturation in the postoperative setting.

Digital spirometers, smart spirometers, tablets, and incentive spirometers with accelerometers were integrated with different systems: a digital spirometer app, a digital spirometer dashboard, Spirobank dashboard, and Twilio. Three mock run-throughs of the entire protocol were completed, and the goal was set for 156 patients to participate in this study.

The Solution

The final report for this project is not complete, so please check back at a later time for more information about the outcomes of this project.