Problem Identification: To evaluate the effects of breathing exercises on dyspnea, six-minute walk distance (6MWD), anxiety, and depression in patients with lung cancer.
Literature Search: A systematic literature search of the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Embase®, PubMed®, Weipu, Wanfang, and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases was performed for publications dated prior to April 6, 2018.
Data Evaluation: The meta-analysis was performed using Review Manager and Stata.
Synthesis: 15 randomized controlled trials with a total of 870 participants met the inclusion criteria. The findings suggest that breathing exercises have positive effects on dyspnea and 6MWD, but not on anxiety and depression. Subgroup analyses showed that breathing exercises combined with other exercises yield similar beneficial effects on dyspnea and 6MWD. In addition, breathing exercises in the surgery subgroup could significantly improve dyspnea and 6MWD. Dyspnea in the other treatment approaches subgroup was significantly improved, and 6MWD did not increase significantly.
Implications for Nursing: Breathing exercises can be considered as a conventional rehabilitation nursing technique in clinical practice, and nurses should be aware of the importance of breathing exercises.