Physiotherapy interventions to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications following lung resection. What is the evidence? What is the practice?
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Following major surgery pulmonary complications are an important cause of postoperative morbidity, contributing to significant increases in length of hospital stay, overall hospital costs and patient discomfort. Physiotherapy aims to prevent and treat pulmonary complications and a number of high quality studies have investigated the efficacy of various physiotherapy interventions in major surgical populations, particularly following cardiac and upper abdominal surgery. To date, however, there have been few studies investigating the effectiveness of physiotherapy interventions in patients undergoing lung surgery via thoracotomy. This paper reviews the limited evidence investigating physiotherapy interventions aimed at preventing postoperative pulmonary complications following lung resection, considers current physiotherapy management for this patient group and makes recommendations for future practice and research.