Effects of Cold Therapy on Pain and Breathing Exercises Among Median Sternotomy Patients

Zencir G., Eser I.

PAIN MANAGEMENT NURSING, cilt.17, ss.401-410, 2016 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 17 Konu: 6
  • Basım Tarihi: 2016
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1016/j.pmn.2016.05.006
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.401-410


The most painful activities during the days following cardiac surgery are coughing and deep breathing exercises. Cold therapy is an effective nonpharmacological method that decreases the pain during coughing and mobilization. In this study, the effects of cold therapy on pain and breathing exercises among patients with median sternotomy following cardiac surgery were investigated in a randomized crossover clinical trial. Data were collected from patients with median sternotomy (N = 34) in the first two postoperative days. Because of the crossover design of the study, each patient was taken as a simultaneous control. Gel pack application was used as the cold therapy. Patients underwent four episodes of deep breathing and coughing exercises using an incentive spirometer (volumetric). Patients were evaluated according to the visual analogue scale for pain intensity before and after deep breathing and coughing exercise sessions. The pain score was 3.44 +/- 2.45 at baseline for deep breathing and coughing exercises on the first day. The reported postoperative pain in the gel-pack group was not significantly different before and after the deep breathing and coughing exercises, but it significantly increased in the no-gel-pack group (p < .001). Although the interaction between the treatment and time was significant (partial eta-squared: .09), the gel-pack group had a lower change in average pain levels. This interaction was not significant in terms of spirometric values. In conclusion, cold therapy had a positive effect on pain management in the early period of post-cardiac surgery but was not effective for the pain associated with breathing exercises. (C) 2016 by the American Society for Pain Management Nursing