Pilot Program Cuts Post-surgical Pneumonia

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 4 (UPI) — U.S. medical scientists say they’ve determined a pneumonia prevention program can significantly reduce postoperative pneumonia in hospital surgical wards.

Researchers said postoperative pneumonia is a common complication among surgical patients and the third most common infectious complication after urinary tract and wound infections.

“Postoperative pneumonia is a problem facilities face continually, but our research shows that simple steps in prevention can have … a substantial effect,” said Dr. Sherry Wren, chief of general surgery at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and a professor of surgery at 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 healthcare costs.”

The scientists said their eight-point intervention strategies include cough and deep breathing exercise, education, twice daily oral hygiene and bed elevation to at least 30 degrees.

The study and its findings are reported in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

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