Pulmonary complications, including pneumonia and respiratory failure, are a common – and dangerous – problem for patients following major surgery. To address this issue, a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis in the April 18, 2006 issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine provides clinicians with new guidelines to use prior to surgery in assessing a patients risk of developing pulmonary problems postoperatively.
"Independent of surgical complications, such as infections and bleeding, there are three major types of medical risks that accompany major surgery," explains the studys lead author Gerald W. Smetana, MD, an internist in the division of general medicine and primary care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "These include cardiac risks such as a heart attack, the risk of blood clot formation, and pulmonary risks."
Nearly 30 years ago risk indices and guidelines were developed to assess post-surgical cardiac risks, he adds, but until now, the issue of pulmonary risk factors had not been formally addressed.
Bonnie Prescott | EurekAlert!
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