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Surgeons' pilot prevention program reduces incidence of postoperative pneumonia
Date:5/3/2010

CHICAGO (May 3, 2010) The results of new research results published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons show that a pilot pneumonia-prevention program significantly reduced postoperative pneumonia in a hospital surgical ward.

Postoperative pneumonia is a common complication among surgical patients and is the third most common infectious complication after urinary tract and wound infections. According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a facility that performed 10,000 noncardiac operations per year would be expected to have approximately 150 cases of postoperative pneumonia. In the intensive care unit (ICU), this complication can translate into additional health care costs of approximately $40,000 per patient, and an estimated mortality rate of 20 to 70 percent. National efforts have been focused on reduction of intensive care acquired pneumonias, but there has been no program addressing hospital patients outside of the ICU.

"Postoperative pneumonia is a problem facilities face continually, but our research shows that simple steps in prevention can have such a substantial effect," according to Sherry Wren, MD, FACS, chief of general surgery, Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System and professor of surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine. "This program, if expanded to other VA or private hospitals, could help improve patient care and lower morbidity, mortality and overall health care costs."

The ward pneumonia-prevention quality improvement task force was formed in December 2006 and met during a three-month period to review evidence-based strategies. The group agreed on the following eight intervention strategies which were implemented in April 2007: (1) educating nursing staff about pneumonia prevention; (2) cough and deep-breathing exercises with incentive spirometer, a device that helps patients gauge lung function; (3) twice daily oral hygiene with chlorhexidin
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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