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Breathing exercises and surgery

October 23, 2006|From Times wire reports

Two weeks of breathing exercises before heart bypass surgery can cut the risk of pneumonia and other lung problems after the surgery, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

The study tracked 279 heart surgery patients deemed to be at high risk for postoperative lung problems -- those with diabetes, a history of smoking, bad coughs, obesity and other complications.

Some were given daily, pre-surgical exercises in breathing and forced expiration techniques for at least two weeks. Others got standard care.

After surgery, lung problems affected 18% of the patients who had exercise training compared with 25% in the group who did not. The incidence of pneumonia was 6.5% in the trained group but more than 16% among those given usual care.

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