Postoperative Pneumonia: A Cause for Concern and Requires Monitoring in an LTACH

a lady coughingRecovering from emergency surgery may take too long. It sometimes entails confinement in the ICU as well as a long recovery period. When a patient needs rest and recuperation in a hospital, it may extend for longer than expected. The doctors may decide to transfer the patient to a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) such as Landmark Hospital Salt Lake City. An LTACH can care for the patient through a long recuperation period.

Pneumonia as a Postoperative Infection

Home recovery is an option for successful operations unless the doctor discovers that there is an infection or if further monitoring is needed. In some instances, when multiple operations are required, the patient needs to be in the hospital for observation. Besides surgical or wound infections, the extended anti-infective regimen may also be in place. Sepsis and pneumonia can also occur and cause postoperative complications, necessitating an extended hospital stay. Postoperative pneumonia occurs after general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, spinal surgery, and head and neck surgery. It can be either hospital-acquired pneumonia or ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Risks and Patient Health Factors

Postoperative pneumonia is common and can cause death due to complications. It is the third most common form of complication. Due to rules for Medicare payments, hospitals and medical staff have renewed efforts to lessen the occurrence of postoperative pneumonia. All surgery patients run the risk of pulmonary complications. The degree of risk depends on the patient’s health, as well as the type of surgery performed and anesthesia used. Pneumonia is the second most common healthcare-associated infection. Smoking is the most significant patient health factor increasing the risk of infection and even death. Cigarette smoking leaves toxins responsible for bronchoconstriction and diminished lung functions. A smoker is more vulnerable to infection due to the accumulated nicotine and tar damage.

Postoperative pulmonary complications, including pneumonia, are common and occur between 2% and 5% of the time. This can lengthen the time a patient needs to recover from surgery. The patient can spend his time recuperating from surgery and postoperative pneumonia at an LTACH where the infection can be observed.