Postoperative Patient Care Program Associated With Reduction of Common Postoperative Complications

A study by Michael R. Cassidy, M.D., and colleagues at the Boston University Medical Center, suggests that I COUGH, a standardized postoperative care program emphasizing patient education, early mobilization, and pulmonary interventions, is associated with reduced risk of postoperative pneumonia and unplanned intubation. (Online First)

Researchers conducted a study of all patients who underwent general or vascular surgery at their institution during a 1-year period and compared the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) risk-adjusted pulmonary outcomes before and after implementing I COUGH.

Before implementation of I COUGH, incidence of postoperative pneumonia was 2.6 percent, but decreased to 1.6 percent after implementation. The incidence of unplanned intubations was 2.0 percent before I COUGH and 1.2 percent after I COUGH.

“We are eager to monitor our outcomes over a longer period, and we are stimulated by the possibility that postoperative complications may be diminished by adherence to simple, inexpensive, easily performed patient care strategies,” the authors conclude.

(JAMA Surg. Published online June 5, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.358