Clinical question: What is the long-term effectiveness of a standardized pneumonia prevention program among surgical noncritical inpatients?
Background: Few studies have focused on the prevention of post-operative pneumonia in non-mechanically ventilated patients. The current study describes the effectiveness of an intervention designed to reduce post-operative pneumonia among noncritical patients who did not require mechanical ventilation.
Study design: Retrospective, cohort study.
Setting: University-affiliated VA hospital involving all noncardiac surgical patients.
Synopsis: A standardized pneumonia prevention program was implemented in 2007 in noncritical care settings for noncardiac surgery patients. Post-operative pneumonia rates were compared to pre-intervention and to American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) benchmarks. Rates of post-operative pneumonia following the intervention dropped from 0.78% to 0.44%, a 43% decrease (P=0.01). Both pre- and post-intervention rates were significantly better than those reported in the ACS-NSQIP database (2.56%).
It was proposed that widespread implementation of the program could lead to a 43% reduction of pneumonia cases in the ACS-NSQIP population, which would translate into a cost savings of more than $280 million.
Bottom line: A sustained reduction of post-operative pneumonia among noncritical surgical patients can be achieved by a standardized pneumonia prevention program, which may lead to improved outcomes and substantial cost savings.