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Resisted breathing exercise versus incentive spirometer training on vital capacity in postoperative radical cystectomy cases: a pilot randomized controlled trial



Radical cystectomy at times involves respiratory physical therapy aiming to reverse pulmonary dysfunction, thus avoiding postoperative pulmonary complications that increase hospital morbidity.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of resisted breathing exercise versus incentive spirometer (IS) training on vital capacity (VC) outcomes in postoperative radical cystectomy cases.

Patients and methods

Forty male and female patients between 40 and 80 years of age who had undergone radical cystectomy participated in this study. Patients were randomly assigned into two equal groups of 20 each; both groups received traditional physical approaches. In addition, group A (19 men and 1 woman) received IS training for 15 min daily for 6 weeks, and group B (16 men and 4 women) received resisted breathing exercise for 15 min daily, for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was VC, which was measured using an electronic spirometer.


This study showed a significant increase (P<0.05) in VC in both groups on comparing pretreatment and post-treatment values within each group. After 6 weeks of treatment, between-group statistical analysis showed equal improvements in VC (P=0.52). Nevertheless, the percentage of improvement in VC was 43.5% (2.46±0.64), higher than that in the resisted breathing exercise group at 23.9% (2.34±0.53).


IS produced better objective improvement in VC compared with the usage of resistive breathing exercise. However, both are considered as a gold therapeutic tool in the management of pulmonary complication after radical cystectomy.


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Correspondence to Eman M. Othman PhD.

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Othman, E.M., Abaas, S.A. & Hassan, H.H. Resisted breathing exercise versus incentive spirometer training on vital capacity in postoperative radical cystectomy cases: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Bull Fac Phys Ther 21, 61–67 (2016).

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  • bladder cancer
  • breathing exercise
  • incentive spirometer
  • radical cystectomy