In this large multi-center prospective cohort of patients undergoing inpatient surgery, the risk of pulmonary complications (defined as aspiration, infection, bronchspasm, respiratory failure, pleural effusion, or atelectasis) was predicted by 7 variables: older age, low preop oxygen saturation, respiratory infection within a month, preoperative Hb<10, upper abdominal or thoracic surgery, emergency procedure, or surgery duration >2 hours. Based on these, the patients were categorized as low, intermediate, or high risk, with pulmonary complications occurring in <1%, 9%, and 32% of the groups. These risk factors can be used to predict the risk of pulmonary complications (abstract)
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.