A new preoperative risk model aims to guide clinical-decision making and develop regimens to help prevent patients from getting pneumonia following surgery.

Pneumonia is the most prevalent infection after open-heart surgery, leading to longer hospital stays and lower odds of survival.

But a new analysis of data from thousands of patients who had coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery at Michigan hospitals revealed ways people can prepare their bodies to reduce the risk of postoperative pneumonia — a complication that occurred in 3.3 percent of patients in the observational review.

In Annals of Thoracic Surgery, investigators identify a list of 17 patient characteristics — age, race, smoking habits and white blood cell count among them — associated with developing pneumonia after cardiac surgery.

Cardiac surgeons in Michigan and investigators at the University of Michigan Health System developed the list based on the experiences of 16,084 patients. These patients underwent cardiac surgery at 33 hospitals sharing data with the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative.

The group’s findings have significant potential, says senior study author Donald Likosky, PhD, an associate professor of cardiac surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Photo Credit: University of Michigan Health System

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