Physiotherapy Provided for Patients Undergoing Thoracic Surgery in Sweden – A National Survey of Practice

Jonsson, Marcus
Westerdahl, Elisabeth
Reeve, Julie
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Journal Article
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Informa UK Limited

Introduction: Patients undergoing thoracic surgery commonly receive perioperative physio-therapy, typically consisting of education, mobilization, breathing exercises, and mobility exercises. To date, no study has described physiotherapy practice for patients undergoing thoracic surgery in Sweden.

Purpose: To investigate physiotherapy interventions for patients undergoing thoracic surgery in Sweden. Methods: All physiotherapists currently working in thoracic surgery units in Sweden (n = 8) were eligible to participate. A survey was e-mailed to the physiotherapists, to determine physiotherapy interventions offered to patients undergoing thoracoscopy or open thoracic surgery. Of 21 physiotherapists, 13 (62%) responded, representing seven hospitals.

Results: Physiotherapists reported routinely providing preoperative education and postoperative treatment for all patients undergoing thoracic surgery. Breathing exercises and mobilization were usually initiated on the day of surgery or the first postoperative day. Common treatments were deep breathing exercises, with or without positive expiratory pressure, and airway clearance techniques. Upper limb and shoulder exercises were typically initiated on the first or second day after surgery. The most important factor reported to influence treatment choice was personal experience of the attending physiotherapist. No routine post-discharge rehabilitation was provided.

Conclusion: Physiotherapists in Sweden reported routinely treating patients scheduled for thoracic surgery, both pre and postoperatively. Prehabilitation or post-discharge rehabilitation was not routinely provided.

lung cancer , physiotherapy , surgery , 4201 Allied Health and Rehabilitation Science , 42 Health Sciences , Patient Safety , Lung , Clinical Research , Rehabilitation , Physical Rehabilitation , 6.7 Physical , 6 Evaluation of treatments and therapeutic interventions , 1103 Clinical Sciences , 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences , Rehabilitation , 4201 Allied health and rehabilitation science
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, ISSN: 0959-3985 (Print); 1532-5040 (Online), Informa UK Limited, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), 1-7. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2023.2233596
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.