Using a volumetric exerciser, also known as a manual incentive spirometer, is as simple as taking slow, deep breaths through the device tube, according to WebMD. Typically, the quality of the breath is measured by an indicator inside the tube, as described by spirometer manufacturer Teleflex.
Volumetric exercisers are often prescribed for patients who are bedfast, recovering from surgery or suffering from breathing disorders such as pneumonia, according to MedlinePlus. Individuals dealing with these situations often feel too weak or ill to breath deeply, resulting in continued, shallow breathing. Spirometer therapy helps combat this by training patients to take slower, deeper breaths.
A health care professional places a marker on the breathing tube to show the user how far the indicator should be moved by each breath, as explained by MedlinePlus. Slow, deep breathing reduces fluid collection in the lungs that can lead to complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Spirometry is often used by doctors to determine the lung health of patients. In this case, the spirometer is connected to a recording device that creates a spirogram or graph of the subject's lung function, according to WebMD. A spirogram measures a variety of functions including inhalation and exhalation force and volume.