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Centre for Evidence-
Based Medicine

Therapy: Clinical Scenario

Jean Crowe, Mary Ann O'Brien
Email: crowej@fhs.mcmaster.ca

You have recently started working as a physiotherapist on a post-surgical unit. The unit is very busy and you are the only physiotherapist. You are wondering whether you should provide prophylactic physiotherapy for all patients undergoing upper abdominal surgical procedures. You decide to visit the hospital librarian to plan a search for up to date information. Your questions is : 'Is prophylactic physiotherapy for patients undergoing upper abdominal surgery effective in preventing post-operative pulmonary complications?'

Search Terms:
physical therapy (MeSH), postoperative pulmonary complications (textword) were used to search the current MEDLINE file. You located the following article:

Fagevik Olsen M, Hahn I, Nordgren S, Lonroth H, Lundholm K. Randomized controlled trial of prophylactic chest physiotherapy in major abdominal surgery. British Journal of Surgery 1997;84:1535-1538.

Read the article and decide:

  1. Is the evidence from this randomised trial valid?
  2. If valid, is this evidence important?
  3. If valid and important, can you apply this evidence in caring for your patient?

Continue to completed worksheet